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History of Genomics Program

The History of Genomics Program collects, organizes and makes accessible historic materials related to the field of genomics and NHGRI. 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.

Oral History Collection

Oral histories capture the perspectives and experiences of those involved in major genomics programs and other NHGRI endeavors. They involve interviews with both NHGRI staff and leaders from the wider genomics research community.

Archival Database

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

  • Archival Database

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

Outreach and Collaboration

  • From the “Baldwin Effect” to Genes of Small Effect: Celebrating the Work of David Depew
    The NHGRI History of Genomics Program hosts "From the 'Baldwin Effect' to Genes of Small Effect: Celebrating the Work of David Depew" on July 29, 2021. Dr. Depew, Professor Emeritus at University of Iowa, was among the first to address the fundamental legacies of Aristotle in modern biology. The conference focuses on themes in Depew’s work across the history and philosophy of biology.
     
  • NHGRI History of Molecular Biology an Genomics Lecture Series
    Emerging out of the 2015 Capturing the History of Genomics workshop, the NHGRI History of Genomics Program hosts this 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.
     
  • Capturing the History of Genomics
    In April 2015, the NHGRI History of Genomics Program hosted a 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.
     
  • A Quarter Century after the Human Genome Project's Launch: Lessons beyond the Base Pairs
    To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the launch of the Human Genome Project, the NHGRI History of Genomics Program hosted this seminar series featuring Human Genome Project participants sharing their perspectives on the Project and its effect on their careers. The seminar series ran from December 2015 through May 2016.
  • Outreach and Collaboration
    • From the “Baldwin Effect” to Genes of Small Effect: Celebrating the Work of David Depew
      The NHGRI History of Genomics Program hosts "From the 'Baldwin Effect' to Genes of Small Effect: Celebrating the Work of David Depew" on July 29, 2021. Dr. Depew, Professor Emeritus at University of Iowa, was among the first to address the fundamental legacies of Aristotle in modern biology. The conference focuses on themes in Depew’s work across the history and philosophy of biology.
       
    • NHGRI History of Molecular Biology an Genomics Lecture Series
      Emerging out of the 2015 Capturing the History of Genomics workshop, the NHGRI History of Genomics Program hosts this 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.
       
    • Capturing the History of Genomics
      In April 2015, the NHGRI History of Genomics Program hosted a 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.
       
    • A Quarter Century after the Human Genome Project's Launch: Lessons beyond the Base Pairs
      To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the launch of the Human Genome Project, the NHGRI History of Genomics Program hosted this seminar series featuring Human Genome Project participants sharing their perspectives on the Project and its effect on their careers. The seminar series ran from December 2015 through May 2016.

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 the Journal of the History of Biology on the historical legacy of the Human Genome Project and genomics.

Program Staff

Christopher R. Donohue
Christopher Donohue, Ph.D.
  • Historian
  • 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
Britny J. Kish
Britny J. Kish
  • Program Specialist
  • Communications and Public Liaison Branch

Last updated: July 29, 2021