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Leroy E. Hood

President and Co-founder
Institute for Systems Biology

Dr. Leroy E. Hood graduated from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1964 with an MD and from Caltech with a PhD in biochemistry in 1968. After three years as a Senior Investigator at NIH, his academic career began at Caltech, where he and his colleagues developed the DNA gene sequencer and synthesizer, and the protein synthesizer and sequencer–four instruments that paved the way for the successful mapping and understanding of the human genome. A pillar in the biotechnology field, Dr. Hood has played a role in founding fifteen biotechnology companies including Amgen, Applied Biosystems, Integrated Diagnostics and Arivale. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. Of the more than 6,000 scientists world-wide who belong to one or more of these academies, Dr. Hood is one of only fifteen people nominated to all three. Dr. Hood has co-authored numerous textbooks in biochemistry, immunology, molecular biology and genetics, as well as a popular book on the human genome project, The Code of Codes and he is just finishing up a text on systems biology. He is the recipient of numerous national and international awards, including the Lasker Award for Studies of Immune Diversity (1987), the Kyoto Prize in advanced technology (2002), the Heinz Award for pioneering work in Systems Biology (2006), and the coveted NAE 2011 Fritz J. and Delores H. Russ Prize for developing automated DNA sequencing. In addition to having received 17 honorary degrees from prestigious universities in the U.S. and abroad, Dr. Hood has published over 750 peer-reviewed articles and currently holds 36 patents. In 2013, he received the National Medal of Science from President Obama. Hood has been named by The Best Schools as one of the 50 Most Influential Scientists in the World Today (2014)
Scientific American has named Hood as one of the top 6 in their selection of 100 biotech visionaries world-wide (2015)


"Systems Medicine, Big Data and Scientific Wellness:  Transforming Healthcare—A Personal View"

Systems medicine, the application of systems approaches to disease, places medicine at a fascinating tipping point—promising a revolution in the practice of medicine.  I will discuss how systems biology approaches have framed systems medicine and I will discuss some of the new systems-driven technologies and strategies that have catalyzed this tipping point.  Moreover, four converging thrusts—systems medicine, big data (and its analytics), the digitalization of personal measurements and patient-activated social networks—are leading to a proactive medicine that is predictive, personalized, preventive and participatory (P4).  I will contrast P4 medicine with contemporary evidence-based medicine and discuss its societal implications for healthcare.  P4 medicine has two central thrusts—quantifying wellness and demystifying disease.

I will discuss our successful effort to introduce P4 medicine into the current healthcare system with a P4 pilot program on scientific wellness—a longitudinal, high-dimensional data cloud study on each of 108 well patients over 2014. The preliminary results both with regard to data analyses and patient responses from these studies are striking.  They point to the emerging discipline of scientific wellness—and the fact that it will catalyze several new thrusts in healthcare: 1) optimizing wellness, 2) identifying the earliest disease transitions for all common diseases and 3) employing the dense, dynamic, personal data cloud approach to study diseases (e.g. cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes) and their responses to therapy.  Scientific wellness will also pioneer N=1 experiments to deconvolute the staggering complexity of human biology and disease.  We started Arivale, a company focused on scientific wellness for the consumer, in 2015 and already have 1400 individuals enrolled.  I will also discuss preliminary results from the Arivale studies.  

My institute, the Institute for Systems Biology (ISB), has recently affiliated with Providence St. Joseph Health to become its research arm.  Providence is the largest non-profit healthcare system in the US—and ISB/Providence will be initiating a series of “translational pillars” moving applications of systems (P4) medicine from the bench to the bedside.  These pillars include scientific wellness, bringing scientific wellness to cancer survivors, making Alzheimer’s a reversible and preventive disease, rather than a relentlessly progressive disease, taking a systems approach to type 2 diabetes and exploring how the deep, dynamic, personal data clouds can be used to gain a deep understanding of glioblastoma and provide new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.

Scientific wellness will catalyze a transformation in contemporary healthcare and it will provide tens of thousands of dense, dynamic, personal data clouds that will present striking new opportunities for pharma, biotech, nutrition and diagnostic companies.  As the cost of the assays for the dense, dynamic, personal data clouds decline, scientific wellness can be brought to the developing world leading to a democratization of healthcare unimaginable even a few years ago. 

Leroy E. Hood