A geneticist, molecular biologist and mathematician, Dr Eric Lander has played a pioneering role in all aspects of the reading, understanding and medical application of the human genome.
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. Lander is also Professor of Biology at MIT and Professor of Systems Biology at the Harvard Medical School. In addition, he serves as Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
Lander 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.
In 2003, 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.
In 2008, he 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.
The recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees, 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.