Professor Eric Lander, founder and director of the Eli and Edythe L. Broad Institute, is featured as one of the world's 100 most influential people in the April 26 special issue of TIME magazine.
Lander is cited most recently as the visionary behind the creation of the Broad, which is harnessing the talents of MIT, Harvard and its hospitals, and the Whitehead Institute to tackle the big questions facing biomedical science today.
TIME noted that Lander and his colleagues played a leading role in the sequencing of the human genome. Lander is now "leading the effort to use the new genetic tools to find treatments for ancient human diseases," according to TIME.
Lander is professor of biology at MIT, professor of systems biology at Harvard Medical School and a member of the Whitehead Institute.
The article, entitled "Unraveling the Threads of Life," also highlights some of Lander's past, from "brainy" Stuyvesant High School in New York City, where he graduated as class valedictorian, to Princeton, where he finished first in his class, to Oxford, where he earned a Ph.D. in math as a Rhodes Scholar.
TIME notes that Lander's fascination with DNA began while teaching economics at Harvard. "Suddenly it was clear to me that all the beautiful complexity of life had simplicity at its core," he said. "This is the kind of thing mathematicians love."
The Broad Institute in Cambridge was established last summer by a founding gift of $100 million by philanthropists Eli and Edythe L. Broad. Its mission is to propel research into the entire set of human genes and to apply the findings to understanding, preventing and treating human disease.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 5, 2004.