Human Genome Researchers Receive Biotech Award

April 16, 1998

WASHINGTON, D.C. -April 10, 1998-- David Botstein and Ronald Davis, both of Stanford University, and Eric Lander, of Whitehead Institute/ Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Center for Genome Research, have been awarded the 1998 Chiron Corporation Biotechnology Research Award. This award, which honors outstanding contributions to the application of biotechnology through fundamental research, development research or reduction to practice, will be presented at the General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, May 17-21, 1998 in Atlanta, Georgia.

In 1980, Drs. Botstein and Davis and their colleagues explained in a scientific paper the general principles of the application of genetic linkage analysis using molecular markers. They recognized some genetic markers could be used both for the construction of genetic maps and the localization and cloning of disease genes. This gave rise to the first human genetic linkage maps consisting of these molecular markers and stimulated the effort to build even better genetic maps. This work laid the foundation for a critical component of the Human Genome Project.

Dr. Lander provided the tools for the use of molecular markers in mapping disease genes. He developed statistical methods to allow the analysis of large data sets of genetic information. Dr. Lander developed the most successful and largest laboratory for genome analysis in the United States. His leadership at the Whitehead Institute Genome Center contributed to establishment of the first validated whole genome physical maps of human DNA and the construction of high-resolution genetic maps of mice.

Dr. Botstein received his A.B. in biochemical sciences from Harvard University and his Ph.D. in human genetics from the University of Michigan. He began his career at MIT where he was the Earle A. Griswold Professor of Genetics. After 20 years at MIT, Dr. Botstein moved to Genetech where he was the Vice President, Science. Currently, he is the Stanford W. Ascherman M.D. Professor and Chair, Department of Genetics at Stanford University.

Dr. Davis received his B.S. from Eastern Illinois University and his Ph.D. in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology and completed a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard University. Since then, Dr. Davis has been at Stanford University where he began as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry. He is currently Professor in both the Department of Biochemistry and Genetics.

Dr. Lander received his A.B. in mathematics from Princeton University and his Ph.D. in mathematics from Oxford University, England. He taught mathematics, statistics, and economics courses at Harvard's Graduate School of Business. During this time, he studied molecular biology and genetics in the laboratories of Peter Cherbas and William Gelbart at Harvard, and H. Robert Horvitz, David Botstein, and David page at MIT. He is currently the Director, Whitehead/MIT Center for Genome Research, Professor at MIT in the Department of Biology, and a geneticist at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

They were nominated by Gerald R. Fink, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The American Society for Microbiology, headquartered in Washington, D.C., is the oldest and largest single biological membership organization, with over 40,000 members worldwide.

American Society for Microbiology

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