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Presidential Distinguished Speaker Series

The Presidential Distinguished Speaker Series is a triannual series that will feature eminent speakers addressing timely topics in science and engineering, culture, public policy, and American higher education. 

The lectures will be held on weekdays at 5 p.m. to facilitate attendance, offer a question-and-answer session as part of the talk, and a small post-speech reception to encourage further engagement with the speaker.


Leroy (Lee) Hood (BS'60 biology; PhD'68 biochemistry), Caltech Distinguished Alumnus
Monday, April 10, 2023
5 p.m.

Register online

Leroy (Lee) Hood developed as a scientist at Caltech, matriculating as an undergraduate student in the late 1950s and graduating with a PhD in the late 1960s. To round out his education and professional training, Lee earned an MD from Johns Hopkins in 1964. Lee joined Caltech's faculty in 1967 and continued his explorations of the depth and intricacy of human biology. In true Caltech fashion, Lee and his colleagues developed four sequencer and synthesizer instruments that paved the way for the Human Genome Project's successful mapping and understanding of the human genome. He and his students also deciphered many of the complex mechanisms of antibody diversification.

In 1992, with support from Bill Gates, Lee moved to the University of Washington to found the first cross-disciplinary department of biology (Molecular Biotechnology) and continued to pioneer technologies for genomics, proteomics and cell biology. In 2000 Lee resigned from UW to co-found the Institute for Systems Biology (ISB), which pioneered systems approaches to biology and medicine. Lee served as ISB president from 2000 to 2017.

Currently, Lee is the CEO of Phenome Health, professor at the Institute of Systems Biology in Seattle, and directing the Human Phenome Initiative, a Million Person Project, to bring wellness and prevention to contemporary healthcare. Most recently, Harvard University Press published Lee's new book, The Age of Scientific Wellness.

A world-renowned scientist and innovator, Lee has founded or been instrumental in the founding of 17 biotech companies to date including Amgen, Applied Biosystems, Rosetta, and Arivale. His many national and international awards include the 2011 National Medal of Science, the Lasker Prize, and the Kyoto Prize. Lee is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Medicine; one of only 20 people elected to all three academies.

In-person attendance is strongly encouraged. Register to attend on campus.

The talk will be live-streamed for those requiring remote access.

Future Speakers to Be Announced