Dr. Lee Hood

September 15th, 2005 by Nick Jacobs Leave a reply »

There’s a new movie at the theaters entitled "Red Eye."  Some of us lived at least a part of this film last week as we flew to Seattle at 7:00 AM and began our trip back that night, actually the next morning, at 2:30AM.  Ten hours of breathing recirculated air on the way to and from Washington  resulted in an early autumn cold, but, more importantly, and more positively, it may have produced a major, new partnership for Windber. 

Our first stop in the city of Starbucks, Boeing and Microsoft was directly across the street from the Gates Foundation.  As we drove past the infamous home of the Gates Foundation, we were told that, when Mr. Gates wants to visit, ten black Cadillac Escalades come roaring down the street and one peels off into the basement garage of the building while the others go on in every direction.  Then the prized Escalade with the billion dollar cargo on board, Bill Gates, rides an elevator to the floor where his meeting is being held. Fort Knox on software.

Our primary meeting there, however, was with a very famous scientist, Dr. Lee Hood

Hood_3 "Dr. Hood is the founder and Director of the Institute for Systems Biology, a spin-off from his labs at University of Washington (UW). Hood came to UW from UCLA encouraged by aggressive financing from Bill Gates. Hood has been (i.e. first gene sequencing machine) and continues to be one of the leading researchers and thinkers in the genetic engineering and biotechnology revolution. Hood is thinking about the next step: bioinformatics.

"His professional career began at Caltech, where he and colleagues pioneered four instruments that constitute the technological foundation for contemporary molecular biology. One of the instruments has revolutionized genomics by allowing the rapid automated sequencing of DNA. Dr. Hood also was one of the first advocates and is a key player in the Human Genome Project — the quest to decipher the sequence of human DNA.

"Dr. Hood earned an M.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1964 and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1968. Since then, his research has focused on the study of molecular immunology and biotechnology. Dr. Hood has published more than 500 peer-reviewed papers and co-authored textbooks in biochemistry, immunology, molecular biology and genetics. He also co-edited Code of Codes, a book discussing scientific, social and ethical issues raised by genetic research. Dr. Hood is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Association of Arts and Sciences."

Well, Dr. Hood asked us if we would consider having Windber partner with him in his research and entrepreneurial activities.  We hesitated for about  two seconds and said, "Yes."

Our first combined grant application could be for around $100M, a number that is very close to the combined funding that has come to Windber and Walter Reed over the past several years.  Dr. Hood described our science, our collection of human tissue, our bioinformatics capabilities and our partnership with Walter Reed as a valuable, unique and one-of-a-kind opportunity in the world.

Thanks, Dr. Hood.  Maybe soon the rest of the world will "get it" as we press on to make life and science better for everyone.

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