Eric S. Lander

Broad Institute
Molecular biologist; Geneticist; Educator; Research institution administrator
Biological Sciences
Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology

Dr. Eric S. Lander is the President & Founding Director of the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard. He is also Professor of Biology at MIT and Professor of Systems Biology at the Harvard Medical School. Dr. Lander also serves as Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.  A geneticist, molecular biologist, and mathematician, Lander has played a pioneering role in all aspects of the study of the human genome. Beginning in the mid-1980s, he has conceived general principles for identifying human disease genes, and enabled their application to medicine through pioneering work to create and analyze genetic, physical, and sequence maps of the human genome. He was one of the leaders of the international Human Genome Project (HGP) from 1990-2003, with his group being the largest contributor to the mapping and sequencing of the human blueprint. The principles and maps have now made it possible to discover thousands of genes underlying common human diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, inflammatory diseases and psychiatric disorders. He played a central role in conceiving and launching an international project to create a comprehensive map of cancer genomes, and his group has been a leading contributor to these efforts, through work on dozens of types of cancer. Lander has also made major contributions to genomic studies in non-human species – including creating the modern genomic tools for biomedical studies in mouse and rat, laying the foundation for modern genetic efforts in the agricultural improvement of plants and animals, and pioneering evolutionary studies from yeast to vertebrates. Lander was an early pioneer in the free availability of genomic tools and information.

His honors and awards include the MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship, the Woodrow Wilson Prize for Public Service, the City of Medicine Award, the Gairdner Foundation International Award, the AAAS Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology, the Albany Prize in Medicine and Biological Research, the Dan David Prize, the Mendel Medal, and the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences in 2013. In addition to his American Academy of Arts and Sciences membership, he is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Medicine, the Academy of Athens, and the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences. He has received honorary degrees from ten colleges and universities. He has been a co-founder of several successful biotechnology firms. His publications appear in Nature, Science, and PNAS, among other prominent journals. 

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