Leroy Hood


Dr. Hood’s outstanding contributions have had a resounding effect on the advancement of science since the 1960s. Throughout his career, he has adhered to the advice of his mentor, Dr. William J. Dreyer: “If you want to practice biology, do it on the leading edge, and if you want to be on the leading edge, invent new tools for deciphering biological information.”

Hood was involved in the development of five instruments critical for contemporary biology—namely, automated DNA sequencers, DNA synthesizers, protein sequencers, peptide synthesizers, and an ink jet printer for constructing DNA arrays. These instruments opened the door to high-throughput biological data and the era of big data in biology and medicine.  He helped pioneer the human genome program—making it possible with the automated DNA sequencer. Under Hood’s direction, the Human Genome Center sequenced portions of human chromosomes 14 and 15.

In 1992, Hood created the first cross-disciplinary biology department, Molecular Biotechnology, at the University of Washington. In 2000, he left the UW to co-found Institute for Systems Biology, the first of its kind. He has pioneered systems medicine the years since ISB’s founding. Hood has made many seminal discoveries in the fields of immunology, neurobiology and biotechnology and, most recently, has been a leader in the development of systems biology, its applications to cancer, neurodegenerative disease, and the linkage of systems biology to personalized medicine.

Hood is now pioneering new approaches to P4 medicine—predictive, preventive, personalized and participatory, and most recently, has embarked on creating a P4 pilot project on 100,000 well individuals, that is transforming healthcare.

In addition to his ground-breaking research, Hood has published 750 papers, received 36 patents, 17 honorary degrees and more than 100 awards and honors. He is one of only 15 individuals elected to all three National Academies—the National Academy of Science, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. Hood has founded or co-founded 15 different biotechnology companies including Amgen, Applied Biosystems, Rosetta, Darwin, Integrated Diagnostics and Indi Molecular.

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