Eric D. Green, M.D., Ph.D. became the third Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) in December 2009. Immediately prior to this appointment, he was the Scientific Director of NHGRI, a position he had held since 2002, and Director of the NIH Intramural Sequencing Center (NISC).
Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Dr. Green comes from a scientific family. His father, Maurice Green, Ph.D., is Director of the Institute for Molecular Virology at St. Louis University School of Medicine, and his brother Michael Green, M.D., Ph.D., is a molecular biologist at the University of Massachusetts at Worcester, where he directs the Program in Gene Function and Expression and is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Dr. Green received a Bachelor of Science in bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1981 and both a Ph.D. in cell biology and an M.D. in 1987 from Washington University in St. Louis. From 1987 to 1992, he was a resident in laboratory medicine in the Departments of Pathology and Internal Medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine, serving as Co-Chief Resident from 1990 to 1992.
For his Ph.D., Dr. Green studied sugar molecules that are attached to proteins. But discussions about a possible Human Genome Project in the late 1980s coupled with his clinical interests in molecular diagnostics prompted him to switch scientific fields. Dr. Green became a postdoctoral research fellow in the laboratory of Maynard V. Olson, Ph.D., then at Washington University School of Medicine and a pioneer in the then-emerging field of genomics.
In 1992, Dr. Green was appointed Assistant Professor of Pathology, Genetics, and Internal Medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine, as well as a Co-Investigator in the Human Genome Center at Washington University. In 1994, Dr. Green was recruited to join the newly formed Division of Intramural Research of the then-named National Center for Human Genome Research (NCHGR) at the National Institutes of Health. Two years later, he earned tenure and was promoted to the rank of Senior Investigator; that same year, he was also appointed Chief of the Genome Technology Branch. In 1997, he became the Founding Director of NISC. In 2002, Dr. Green was named the NHGRI Scientific Director.
While directing an independent research program for almost two decades, Dr. Green was at the forefront of efforts to map, sequence, and understand eukaryotic genomes. His work included significant, start-to-finish involvement in the Human Genome Project; these initial efforts latter blossomed into a highly productive program in comparative genomics that provided important insights about genome structure, function, and evolution.
Honors given to Dr. Green include a Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (1989-1990), a Lucille P. Markey Scholar Award in Biomedical Science (1990-1994), induction into the American Society for Clinical Investigation (2002), an Alumni Achievement Award from Washington University School of Medicine (2005), induction into the Association of American Physicians (2007), a Distinguished Alumni Award from Washington University (2010), the Cotlove Award from the Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians and Scientists (2011), and the Wallace H. Coulter Lectureship Award from the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (2012). He is a Founding Editor of the journal Genome Research (1995-present) and a Series Editor of Genome Analysis: A Laboratory Manual (1994-1998), both published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. He is also Co-Editor of Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics (since 2005). Dr. Green has authored and co-authored over 310 scientific publications.
Now, as Director of NHGRI, Dr. Green is responsible for providing overall leadership of the Institute's research portfolio and other initiatives; this requires significant coordination with other NIH components and funding agencies. In 2011, Dr. Green led NHGRI to the completion of a strategic planning process that yielded a new vision for the future of genomics research, entitled Charting a course for genomic medicine from base pairs to bedside(Nature, 470:204-213. 2011).
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Last Updated: November 12, 2014