Key architect of the Human Genome Project visits NCBS

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

Noted geneticist and polymath Dr. Eric Lander visited the campus recently. He was accompanied by Emilie Marcus Editor-in-Chief of Cell, N Ram, Publisher of "The Hindu" and the Managing Director of TNQ , Mariam Ram . Dr. Lander is in India to deliver a series of lectures at Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore as a part of The Cell Press-TNQ India Distinguished Lectureship Series 2015.( The talk at IISc today is titled "The Human Genome and Beyond: A 35-year journey of genomic medicine".

Dr. Lander started as a mathematician and was then a teacher of managerial economics before moving on to genetics. He was one of the key leaders of the Human Genome project that unravelled the complete human genetic code in 2003. In his accomplished career as a biologist, Dr. Lander has pioneered the application of modern technology and novel approaches to unravel the genetic basis of diseases such as cancer, diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease.

In an exceptionally stimulating interaction with faculty and early career researchers Dr. Lander was all praise for young minds and the future of research in India. He shared key events of his career as a scientist to illustrate the idea that learning experiences and teaching were powerful influences and that each individual present in the room carried the power to make an impact. He also encouraged students to use available technologies to spread their passion for research to students across the country.

Pritha Ghosh who is pursuing a PhD says "It was very interactive and Eric was very keen to listen to what the students had to say. He was ready to discuss the areas where we thought India is still lacking. More so, he narrated experiences from his career, so that we could relate to ours.". Rohit Suratekar found the session encouraging, "Eric is very energetic and inspiring. He has a unique and impressive interaction style. We all felt comfortable talking to him. I think the discussion on Indian science was a reflection of the current problems associated with our scientific community. I also liked his idea about making videos that take our passion for research to the younger generation"

NCBS has previously hosted other speakers of this lecture series for interactions on campus, including Huda Zoghbi and Elizabeth Blackburn. Such close encounters are immensely stimulating. "I enjoyed how Lander related to the concerns and hopes of the students and postdocs, engaging them with questions about their careers, their commitment to science and their ideals" said Upinder Bhalla, Dean of NCBS .

About Dr. Eric Lander

Dr. Eric Lander is the President and Founding Director of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. More about Dr. Lander at

The Cell Press-TNQ India Distinguished Lectureship Series

The Lecture Series is co-sponsored by Cell Press and TNQ Books and Journals. Planned as an annual event the lectures are aimed at bringing internationally renowned scientists face to face with the Indian scientific community. They are held in Bengaluru, Chennai, and New Delhi each year.The series aims to fuel interactions between Indian scientists and other eminent scientists from across the world.




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