Eric S. Lander, Ph.D.
Born February 3, 1957, in Brooklyn, New York
Undergraduate degree: A.B. with highest honors, Mathematics, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, 1978
Graduate degree: D.Phil., Mathematics, Oxford University, Oxford, England, 1981
1981, 1987: Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Business, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
1984, 1989, 1993: Visiting Scientist, Associate Professor (with tenure), Professor, Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts
1986, 1989: Fellow, Member, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts
1990: Director, Whitehead Institute/MIT Center for Genome Research
Riding the genome roller coaster: Working on the human genome sequence, there were times when I was ready to jump off a building. Of course, I was never at a sufficient altitude that I could have done that much damage. One of the problems with genome work is that you have to have 8 or 10 things all humming and speaking to one another for things to work. So you can be slogging and slogging and slogging for months at a time without making much progress. Then all of the pieces suddenly fall into place, and youre making progress every single day. Thats very satisfying, especially because youve been waiting for such a long time.
SELECTED HONORS, AWARDS, AND FELLOWSHIPS
Member, National Academy of Sciences
Rhodes and relaxation: I think the whole point of the Rhodes scholarship is to take people who are running around all the time and make them slow down. You have an eight-week term, then six weeks of vacation, another eight-week term, then six weeks of vacation. It was a relaxed time. I traveled a lot. But doing pure mathematics is very portable, so most of my ideas were generated on vacation. I never had a decent idea in my office.
SELECTED PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES
Scientific Advisory Board, Finnish Genome Center
More than 240 original research articles in mathematics, economics, and biology published in peer-reviewed journals such as Science, Nature, Cell, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and The American Journal of Human Genetics. Review articles in many publications and a book entitled Calculating the Secrets of Life.
OUTSIDE THE LAB
Family portrait: Everyone in Landers family paintshis wife, Lori Weiner, and their three children, Jessica, 13, Daniel, 10, and David, 7. Except for Lander. I have almost no artistic ability whatsoever.
Games at home: Lander and his family live in a converted school building. They kept the gym, where the family often gathers for a friendly game of kickball.
Turning heads: The Landers spend their summers in New Hampshire. In addition to a pond and a few miles of hiking trails through the woods, their summer home features a trampolinesunk into the ground. It doesnt make sense to have one aboveground. You could fall off, says Lander. People driving by sometimes do a double take when they see us bouncing up and down on the lawn.
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