Ira Pastor, ideaXme longevity and aging Ambassador and founder of Bioquark interviews “Lee” (Dr. Leroy Edward) Hood, American biologist who has served on the faculties at the California Institute of Technology and the University of Washington and is now co-founder of the Institute for Systems Biology.
In the human health space, systems biology’s translational opportunities include, but are not limited to, the discovery of new biomarkers for disease, stratification of patients based on pharmacogenomic/toxicogenomic profiles, and of course the development of novel drugs and interventions that take into account these system processes.
For today’s guest, I could think of no one better to talk with us about this topic and take us into the future, and I am truly honored that someone of his caliber has offered his time, than Chief Strategy Officer, Co-founder and Professor, Institute for Systems Biology, SVP and Chief Science Officer, Providence St. Joseph Health, Dr. Leroy Hood.
Routinely listed as one of the top biotech visionaries and innovators of all time, Dr. Hood’s work has had a resounding effect on the advancement of science since the 1960s. Starting out with a MD The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and PhD Caltech in biochemistry, Dr. Hood was involved in the development of six instruments critical for contemporary biotechnology as we know it to function: namely, automated DNA sequencers, DNA synthesizers, protein sequencers, peptide synthesizers, the ink jet printer for constructing DNA arrays and large-scale synthesis of DNA, and the nanostring instrument for the single molecule analysis of RNA and DNA. These instruments literally opened the door to the era of high-throughput biological data and “big” data in biology and medicine.
Dr. Hood also helped pioneer the human genome program, making it possible with the automated DNA sequencer and the peptide synthesizer, used in the synthesis of the HIV protease with Stephen Kent leading to the development of the first protease inhibitors for AIDS.
In 1992, Dr. Hood created the first cross-disciplinary biology department, Molecular Biotechnology, at the University of Washington. In 2000, he left the UW to co-found Institute for Systems Biology (ISB), the first organization of its type committed to a systems approach to biology and disease, and has pioneered systems medicine and scientific wellness in the years since ISB’s founding.
He has been a proponent of a health care that is predictive, preventive, personalized and participatory (P4 medicine). In 2016, he oversaw ISB’s affiliation with Providence St. Joseph Health (PSJH) with the goal of bringing personalized medicine to every patient.
Dr. Hood has made many seminal discoveries in the fields of immunology, neurobiology, cancer biology and biotechnology, and, most recently, has been a leader in the development of systems biology and its applications to cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, as well as pioneering technologies and strategies that bring systems biology to personalized medicine.
In addition to his groundbreaking research, Dr. Hood has published 750 papers, received 36 patents, 17 honorary degrees and more than 100 awards and honors. He is one of 20 individuals elected to all three National Academies: the National Academy of Science, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Medicine.
On this show we will hear from Dr. Hood about:
His background; how he became interested in science; biochemistry, medicine, and his pathway to founding ISB. The pathway on selling the concept of systems biology to the rest of the academic and industrial world. The model of P4 medicine – the clinical face of systems medicine. The importance of technology transfer and biotech company spin-offs in allowing him to achieve so much in his career to date. His views on aging and longevity biotechnology, “scientific wellness”, and his “Pioneer 100 Wellness Project.”