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Informatics Meets Genomics at the White House

October 1999

WASHINGTON - On Tuesday, October 12, 1999, the President and First Lady will host the eighth Millennium Evening at the White House. The program, titled, "Informatics Meets Genomics," will feature Dr. Vinton Cerf, Senior Vice President of Internet Architecture and Technology at MCI WorldCom, and Dr. Eric Lander, Director of the Whitehead Institute/MIT Center for Genome Research. The evening, held in the East Room of the White House, will begin at 7:30pm, EDT.

Millennium Evenings at the White House are a series of lectures and cultural showcases that highlight creativity and inventiveness through ideas, art and scientific discoveries. The lectures feature prominent scholars, creators and visionaries and are accessible to the public via broadcast and cybercast. These evenings follow the overall theme of the White House millennium activities, "Honor the Past - Imagine the Future," by inviting all Americans to participate in activities that celebrate our democracy, strengthen communities and give lasting gifts to the future.

The question behind the eighth Millennium Evening at the White House is: if we were looking back from the year 2030, what changes occurring now will have most affected our lives by then? Two major developments that stand out in response to that question are the fields of information technology and genetic research. Spurred by the computer chip and rapidly expanding computing capacity, information technology already has revolutionized aspects of our lives from the work place to personal communications. The impact of technology ripples through every major industry and endeavor and will only grow in reach and interactive ability. The ever-increasing computer capacity has made the mapping of the human genome possible. The Human Genome Project will soon identify all the estimated 100,000 genes in human DNA and determine the sequences of the 3 billion chemical bases that make up that DNA. That information will serve as the foundation for health care applications both to cure and prevent diseases. The President and First Lady, and Dr. Cerf and Dr. Lander will lead a discussion on the advantages and challenges posed by these increasingly powerful technologies and knowledge about our own natural information system.

The President and First Lady encourage the public to participate in the evening's discussion by e-mailing questions for Dr. Cerf or Dr. Lander or comments on the discussion itself, either during or after the cybercast. These may be sent via the White House Web site. The Web site will post satellite coordinates (C and KU bands) and serve as a link to the cybercast.

Millennium Evenings at the White House are hosted by the President and First Lady at the White House and co-sponsored by the White House Millennium Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities with support from Sun Microsystems.

Note: Background information on Dr. Cerf and Dr. Lander:

Dr. Vinton Cerf:
Dr. Cerf is known as a "Father of the Internet" for his work with the U.S. Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) where he played a key role in the development of Internet and Internet-related data packet and security technologies. He currently serves as senior vice president of Internet Architecture and Technology for MCI WorldCom. In December 1997, he was awarded the U.S. Medal of Technology by President Clinton.

Dr. Eric Lander:
Dr. Lander is Director of the Whitehead Institute/MIT Center for Genome Research. He and his research group have developed many of the tools of modern genome research - including genomic maps of the human mouse and rat genomes in connection with the Human Genome Project and techniques for the genetic analyses of complex, multi-gene traits. He has applied these techniques to the understanding of cancer, diabetes, hypertension, renal failure and dwarfism. Dr. Lander was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship in 1978 and received the MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship in 1987 for his work in genetics.

Complete transcript of the evening's events

Video of the Event:
NIH Videocasting Past Events
Realplayer, computer speakers and a fast connection (able to handle 150 kilobits per second [kbps] stream) are needed. (Realplayer can be downloaded free from the NIH site.)

Cathy Yarbrough

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Last updated: September 01, 2006