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The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) History of Genomics Program aims to collect and organize historic materials related to the field of genomics and NHGRI as an organization.

Program Activities

Launched in 2012, the History of Genomics Program includes digitization of relevant assets and database development, generation of oral histories chronicling the experiences of genomics leaders and NHGRI staff, production of scholarly work related to major genomics accomplishments, and expansion of the general knowledge about the history of genomics among the scholarly community and the general public.

Archival Database
NHGRI has developed a database for digital assets.The database contains organized documents with metadata and a search feature for ease of browsing. To receive more information about gaining access to the database, please send an email to NHGRIHistory@nih.gov.

Scholarly Work
Scholarly descriptions and analyses of the major genomics programs and other NHGRI endeavors strive to draw upon the knowledge of institute staff and external genomics experts, while also capturing the expertise of professional historians. This includes a monograph-length study on the history of NHGRI human genomic variation programs from the Haplotype Map Project to the recently completed 1000 Genomes Project, and a special issue of theJournal of the History of Biology on the historical legacy of the Human Genome Project and genomics.

Oral History Collection
Oral histories capturing the perspectives and experiences of those involved in major genomics programs and other NHGRI endeavors are being generated. The oral histories involve interviews with both NHGRI staff and leaders from the wider genomics research community.

Outreach and Collaboration
Emerging out of the 2015 Capturing the History of Genomics workshop, the NHGRI History of Genomics Program hosts the "NHGRI History of Molecular Biology an Genomics Lecture Series" to bring in talented and well-known historians, sociologists and philosophers with the goals of increasing the understanding of genomics in the scholarly community and presenting contemporary research of immediate interest to NHGRI staff.

In April 2015, the NHGRI History of Genomics Program hosted a "Capturing the History of Genomics" workshop to gather input and foster collaborations with representatives of the outside scholarly community. Historians, philosophers, sociologists, and bioethicists made presentations on topics that included the history of the Human Genome Project, human genomic variation research, genomic data sharing, and development of bioinformatics databases.

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the launch of the Human Genome Project, the NHGRI History of Genomics Program hosted a seminar series featuring Human Genome Project participants sharing their perspectives on the Project and its effect on their careers. The seminar series, "A Quarter Century after the Human Genome Project's Launch: Lessons beyond the Base Pairs", ran from December 2015 through May 2016.

Program Staff

Christopher R. Donohue
Christopher Donohue, Ph.D.
  • Historian
  • NHGRI History of Genomics Program
Jennifer L. Montooth, M.A.
  • Archivist
  • NHGRI History of Genomics Program
Zach M. Utz
Zach M. Utz, M.A.
  • Archivist
  • NHGRI History of Genomics Program
Alvaro W. Encinas
Alvaro W. Encinas
  • Video Professional
  • Communications and Public Liaison Branch
Chris Wellington, B.S.
Chris Wellington, B.S.
  • Program Director Computational Genomics and Data Science
  • Division of Genome Sciences
Kris Wetterstrand, M.S.
Kris A. Wetterstrand, M.S.
  • Scientific Liaison to the Director for Extramural Activities
  • Office of the Director

Last updated: January 8, 2018