Eric Lander is president and founding director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. A geneticist, molecular biologist, and mathematician, Lander has played a pioneering role in all aspects of the reading, understanding, and biomedical application of the human genome. He was a principal leader of the international Human Genome Project (HGP) from 1990 to 2003, with his group being the largest contributor to the mapping and sequencing of the human blueprint. With his colleagues, Lander has developed and applied methods for discovering the molecular basis of rare genetic diseases, common diseases, and cancer. He has done pioneering work on genetic variation, population history, evolutionary forces, regulatory elements, long non-coding RNAs, three-dimensional folding of the human genome, and methods to systematically identify the genes essential for biological processes.
Lander is a professor of biology at MIT and professor of systems biology at Harvard Medical School. He has served on governing and advisory boards for various government agencies, academic institutions, and scientific societies, and has co-founded several successful biotechnology firms.
In 2008, Lander was appointed by President Obama as co-chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) – a council of 20 of the nation’s leading scientists and engineers that advises the White House on matters including health, advanced manufacturing, energy policy, information technology, drug innovation, spectrum and communications policy, nanotechnology, and national security.
Lander’s numerous honors and awards include the MacArthur Fellowship, the Woodrow Wilson Prize for Public Service from Princeton University, the City of Medicine Award, the Gairdner Foundation International Award of Canada, the AAAS Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology, the Albany Prize in Medicine and Biological Research, the Dan David Prize of Israel, the Mendel Medal of the Genetics Society in the UK, and the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. He was elected a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 1997 and of the U.S. Institute of Medicine in 1999. In 2013, he was elected to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He has received honorary degrees from 10 colleges and universities.
Lander earned his B.A. in mathematics from Princeton University (1978) and his Ph.D. in mathematics from Oxford University (1981) as a Rhodes Scholar.