Leroy E. Hood received an M.D. from Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. from California Institute of Technology, where he was a faculty member for 22 years. Dr. Hood’s research initially focused on fundamental biology (immunity, evolution, genomics, and neurobiology) and on bringing engineering and biology together through the development of five instruments—a DNA sequencer, a DNA synthesizer, a protein sequencer, a peptide synthesizer, and an ink jet printer for DNA arrays—all of which have since been commercialized (Applied Biosystems and Agilent).
In the 1980s, he began to focus more on cross-disciplinary biology and systems biology. In 1992, with support from Bill Gates, he moved to the University of Washington, where he was the founder and chairman of the Molecular Biotechnology Department (the first cross-disciplinary biology department). In 2000, he co-founded, and is still president of, the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle, Washington, an independent, nonprofit organization that develops strategies and technologies for systems approaches to biology and medicine.
Dr. Hood is currently pioneering the transition of medical care from a reactive to a proactive (P4) approach based on predictive, preventive, personalized, and participatory views of individual patients and systems approaches to diagnostics and therapeutics as well as the development of a myriad of new clinical assays for explorations of new dimensions of patient data space.
Dr. Hood was awarded the Lasker Prize in 1987 (for studies of the mechanism of immune diversity); the 2002 Kyoto Prize in Advanced Technology (for developing automated technologies for analyzing proteins and genes); the 2003 Lemelson–MIT Prize for Innovation and Invention (for the development of the DNA sequencer); the 2006 Heinz Award in Technology, the Economy and Employment (for breakthroughs in biomedical science on the genetic level); membership in the 2007 Inventors Hall of Fame (for the automated DNA sequencer); the 2008 Pittcon Heritage Award (for helping to transform the biotechnology industry); and the 2010 Kistler Award (for contributions to genetics that have benefitted mankind). Dr. Hood has received 17 honorary degrees from institutions such as Johns Hopkins, Yale and UCLA.
He has published more than 700 peer-reviewed papers, received 22 patents, and co-authored textbooks in biochemistry, immunology, molecular biology, and genetics. In addition, he co-authored, with Dan Keveles, The Code of Codes, a popular book on the sequencing of the human genome.
Dr. Hood is a member of the American Philosophical Society and the American Association of Arts and Sciences, as well as the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), Institute of Medicine, and National Academy of Engineering. Indeed, he is one of only 7 scientists (of more than 6,000 members of The National Academies) elected to all three academies. Dr. Hood has been instrumental in founding 13 biotechnology companies, including Amgen, Applied Biosystems, Systemix, Darwin, Rosetta, Integrated Diagnostics, and the Accelerator.