The Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) announced that Leroy Hood will receive the seventh annual Pittcon Heritage Award. Jointly sponsored by the Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy (Pittcon) and CHF, this award recognizes outstanding individuals whose entrepreneurial careers have shaped the instrumentation community, inspired achievement, promoted public understanding of the modern instrumentation sciences, and highlighted the role of analytical chemistry in world economies. The award will be presented at Pittcon 2008 in New Orleans, which begins 1 March.
"Award-winning researcher, gifted entrepreneur, and brilliant innovator, Leroy Hood pioneered the techniques that made the rapid pace of the Human Genome Project possible," said Thomas Tritton, president and CEO of CHF. "Without his contributions, the sequencing of the human genome could have taken years or even decades longer."
Hood will receive the Pittcon Heritage Award at the 59th annual Pittsburgh Conference. Pittcon is the largest and most inclusive conference and exposition on laboratory science and instrumentation in the world. The annual event brings together more than 30,000 conferees and exhibitors from more than 70 countries. Pittcon 2008 will include approximately 3,000 presentations in addition to short courses, invited symposia, workshops, and new-product forums featuring instrumentation manufacturers from the life sciences, analytical chemistry, and other scientific fields. Proceeds from the conference are used to advance science education.
About Leroy Hood
Hood's research has focused on fundamental biology and on bringing engineering to biology through development of the five instruments that constitute the technological foundation for modern molecular biology and genomics: the DNA and protein sequencers and synthesizers and the ink-jet oligonucleotide synthesizer. The DNA sequencer in particular has revolutionized genomics by allowing the rapid automated sequencing of DNA, which played a crucial role in the successful mapping of the human genome during the 1990s.
After completing an M.D. at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and a Ph.D. in biochemistry at the California Institute of Technology, Hood began his professional career at the California Institute of Technology. There he and his colleagues pioneered four of the five instruments mentioned above. In the late 1980s Hood realized that to really understand immunology would require a systems approach, and he began thinking about systems biology.
In 1992 Hood became founder and chairman of the Department of Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Washington, where he developed the ink-jet oligonucleotide synthesizer, which synthesizes DNA chips, and initiated systems studies on cancer biology and prion disease. In 2000 Hood cofounded the Institute for Systems Biology, a nonprofit research institute established to pioneer systems approaches to biology and medicine.
The many awards and honors Hood has received include the Lasker Prize, the Kyoto Prize in Advanced Technology, the Lemelson-MIT Prize for Innovation and Invention, and the Biotechnology Heritage Award. In 2007 Hood was elected to the Inventors Hall of Fame. He has received 14 honorary degrees, published more than 600 peer-reviewed papers, received 14 patents, and coauthored textbooks in biochemistry, immunology, molecular biology, and genetics. In addition he coauthored, with Dan Keveles, TheCode of Codes, a popular book on the human genome project.
One of only seven scientists elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Academy of Engineering, Hood is also a member of the American Philosophical Society and the American Association of Arts and Sciences. He has played a role in founding more than 14 biotechnology companies, including Amgen, Applied Biosystems, Systemix, Darwin, and Rosetta.
Pittcon is the largest and most inclusive conference and exposition on laboratory science and instrumentation in the world. The annual event brings together more than 30,000 confrees and exhibitors from more than 70 countries. The Pittcon Heritage Award is presented annually at a special ceremony during Pittcon. The recipient's name and achievements are added to a roster of Pittcon Hall of Fame members, including such industry pioneers as Arnold Beckman, Robert Finnigan, Chester Fisher, Aaron Martin, James Waters, and others.
About the Chemical Heritage Foundation
The Chemical Heritage Foundation serves the community of the chemical and molecular sciences, and the wider public, by treasuring the past, educating the present, and inspiring the future. CHF maintains a world-class collection of materials that document the history and heritage of the chemical and molecular sciences, technologies, and industries; encourages research in its collections; and carries out a program of outreach and interpretation in order to advance an understanding of the role of the chemical and molecular sciences, technologies, and industries in shaping society.