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Hood Hails 'Century of Biology'


By Kevin Davies

Aug 15, 2005 | Leroy Hood, president of the Institute of Systems Biology in Seattle and cofounder of Applied Biosystems, is the winner of the 2005 Bio-IT World President’s Award.

Leroy Hood 
Leroy Hood 
Hood was unable to receive the award in person. In a written acceptance speech, he said: “I had the good fortune to be a participant in several paradigm changes in biology over the last 35 years, and the President’s Award is for two of these.”

Hood recalled his tenure at Caltech in the 1970s and 1980s as an assistant professor, where he made major contributions to the field of molecular immunology, receiving the prestigious Lasker Award in 1987. But much of his group’s effort was also dedicated to technology development.

Over 15 years, Hood said, “My lab developed instruments for the sequencing and synthesis of both DNA and proteins. What was remarkable about these instruments was that each of them changed in fundamental ways how biology was practiced. Perhaps the most striking example of this was the automated DNA sequencer.”

In the late 1980s, Hood began to realize the importance of systems biology — studying the informational elements in a biological system and their interconnections to explain the emergent properties of the system of interest. The genome project, Hood said, enabled systems biology,  both by providing a genetics parts list and by driving the development of high-throughput biological instrumentation and the creation of powerful computational and mathematical tools for handling the explosion of emerging data.”

“There are compelling examples already of how systems biology will play a fundamental role in transforming biology and medicine in the twenty-first century...the Century of Biology!” Hood said.

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