Dr. Leroy Hood is recognized as one of the world’s leading scientists in molecular biotechnology and genomics. A passionate and dedicated researcher, he holds numerous patents and awards for his scientific breakthroughs and prides himself on his life-long commitment to making science accessible and understandable to the general public, especially children. One of his foremost goals is bringing hands-on, inquiry-based science to K-12 classrooms.
Dr. Hood earned an M.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1964 and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1968. Since then, his research has focused on the study of molecular immunology and biotechnology. His interests also include autoimmune diseases, cancer biology and mammalian development. Dr. Hood has published more than 600 peer-reviewed papers and co-authored textbooks in biochemistry, immunology, molecular biology and genetics. He also co-edited “Code of Codes,” a book discussing scientific, social and ethical issues raised by genetic research. Dr. Hood is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Association of Arts and Sciences.
His professional career began at Caltech, where he and colleagues pioneered four instruments that constitute the technological foundation for contemporary molecular biology. One of the instruments has revolutionized genomics by allowing the rapid automated sequencing of DNA. Dr. Hood also was one of the first advocates and is a key player in the Human Genome Project — the quest to decipher the sequence of human DNA. He also played a pioneering role in deciphering the secrets of antibody diversity.
In 1992, Dr. Hood moved to the University of Washington to create the cross-disciplinary Department of Molecular Biotechnology, bringing together chemists, engineers, computer scientists, applied physicists and biologists. At the UW, he applied his laboratory’s expertise in DNA mapping to the analysis of human and mouse immune receptors and initiated studies in prostate cancer, autoimmunity, and hematopoietic stem cell development.