Eric Lander '78 (Photo: Len Rubenstein/Courtesy the Broad Institute)
Eric Lander ’78, a pioneering biologist best known as a leader of the Human Genome Project, was selected as one of six recipients of the 2012 Dan David Prize on March 1. The award, endowed by the Dan David foundation and based in Israel, honors innovative work in three categories – past, present, and future. Lander will share the $1 million “future” prize with two other genomics trendsetters: David Botstein, director of Princeton’s Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, and J. Craig Venter. The award will be presented in June.
As the prize citation explains, Lander was “a powerful and respected voice in the planning and execution of the genome project”:
“The Center he led contributed much of the data, he pioneered many of the analyses of genome sequence data, and he led in the writing of the landmark publication describing the HGP first as a draft sequence in Nature, 2001 and later as a full sequence in Nature, 2004. This has become the standard human reference sequence.”
Lander, the founding director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, received the University’s Woodrow Wilson Award at Alumni Day in 1998 and has since earned numerous honors, degrees, and other distinctions, including a post as co-chairman of President Barack Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. As an undergraduate, Lander majored in mathematics, wrote PAW’s On the Campus column, and earned a Rhodes scholarship to continue his studies at Oxford.

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