A personal journey of discovery: developing technology and changing biology.

Research paper by Lee L Hood

Indexed on: 19 Jul '08Published on: 19 Jul '08Published in: Annual review of analytical chemistry (Palo Alto, Calif.)


This autobiographical article describes my experiences in developing chemically based, biological technologies for deciphering biological information: DNA, RNA, proteins, interactions, and networks. The instruments developed include protein and DNA sequencers and synthesizers, as well as ink-jet technology for synthesizing DNA chips. Diverse new strategies for doing biology also arose from novel applications of these instruments. The functioning of these instruments can be integrated to generate powerful new approaches to cloning and characterizing genes from a small amount of protein sequence or to using gene sequences to synthesize peptide fragments so as to characterize various properties of the proteins. I also discuss the five paradigm changes in which I have participated: the development and integration of biological instrumentation; the human genome project; cross-disciplinary biology; systems biology; and predictive, personalized, preventive, and participatory (P4) medicine. Finally, I discuss the origins, the philosophy, some accomplishments, and the future trajectories of the Institute for Systems Biology.