Leaders in Biomedicine

The goal of this lectureship is to provide students and members of the HMS academic community with direct exposure to a wide range of existing leaders in contemporary biomedicine by offering a public lecture series in which such individuals are invited to speak on a subject of general interest.

December 13, 2012
4:00 pm, Joseph B. Martin Conference Center, NRB Amphitheater

Dr. Eric S. Lander, Director, The Eli and Edythe L. Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard; Professor, Department of Biology, MIT; Professor, Department of Systems Biology, HMS.

Bruce Alberts

Dr. Eric Lander is President and Founding Director of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, a new kind of collaborative biomedical research institution focused on genomic medicine. Dr. Lander is also Professor of Biology at MIT and Professor of Systems Biology at the Harvard Medical School. In addition, Dr. Lander serves as Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

A geneticist, molecular biologist and mathematician, Dr. Lander has played a pioneering role in all aspects of the reading, understanding and medical application of the human genome. He was a principal leader 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. Beginning in the mid-1980s, he conceived and pioneered genomic methods that have now made it possible to discover thousands of genes underlying common human diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, inflammatory diseases and psychiatric disorders. He has made landmark contributions to discovering the secrets encoded in the human genome – including a much larger-than-expected role of regulatory controls, the presence of thousands of functional non-coding RNAs, a central role of transposons in evolutionary innovation, and the presence of hundreds of regions that have been under strong positive selection in recent human history. 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 cancers. He 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. Dr. Lander was an early pioneer in the free availability of genomic tools and information. Finally, he has mentored a extraordinary cadre of young scientists who have become the next generation of leaders in medical genomics.
In 2003, Dr. Lander founded the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, a unique research institution focused on genomic medicine that spans Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Harvard-affiliated hospitals. Involving a community of more than 1800 members, the Broad has become a model for a new kind of collaborative biomedical research community, enabling creative scientists to tackle important challenges that span medicine, biology, chemistry, mathematics, computer science and engineering.
In 2008, Dr. Lander was appointed by President Obama to co-chair the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). PCAST is a council of 21 of the nation’s leading scientists and engineers, which advises the White House on matters including health, advanced manufacturing, energy policy, information technology, drug innovation, spectrum and communications policy, nanotechnology and national security. He also serves as a member of President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

Dr. Lander is also an avid teacher, including teaching MIT’s Introductory Biology course for more than 20 years.

The recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees, Dr. Lander was elected a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 1997 and of the U.S. Institute of Medicine in 1999.

He has been a co-founder of several successful biotechnology firms, including Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Infinity Pharmaceuticals, Verastem and Foundation Medicine. He has also served on governing and advisory boards for various government agencies, academic institutions, scientific societies and corporations.

Click here for video of Dr. Lander’s lecture

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2012 – Dr. Eric S. Lander

2011 – Dr. Bruce Alberts

2010 – Dr. Harold E. Varmus

2009 – Dr. Michael S. Brown

2008 - Dr. Elizabeth H. Blackburn

2007 - Sir Paul Nurse


Updated: August 20, 2013