Today's Birthdays

one click shows all of today's celebrity birthdays

Browse All Birthdays

43,625    Actors
27,931    Actresses
4,867    Composers
7,058    Directors
842    Footballers
221    Racing drivers
925    Singers
9,111    Writers

Get FamousLikeMe on your website
One line of code gets FamousLikeMe on your website. Find out more.

Subscribe to Daily updates

Add to Google

privacy policy

Famous Like Me > Actor > L > Eric Lander

Profile of Eric Lander on Famous Like Me

Name: Eric Lander  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 27th May 1924
Place of Birth: Rugby, England, UK
Profession: Actor
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Eric Steven Lander (b. February 3, 1957) is a Professor of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a member of the Whitehead Institute, and director of the Broad institute of MIT and Harvard who has devoted his career toward realizing the promise of the human genome for medicine.

He graduated from Stuyvesant High School in 1974 and began an academic career as a mathematician. At the age of seventeen, he wrote a paper on quasiperfect numbers for which he won the Westinghouse Prize. He wrote his doctorate on symmetric designs at Oxford University. As a Mathematician he studied combinatorics and applications of group representational theory to coding theory. He enjoyed mathematics but did not wish to spend his life in such a "monastic career." Unsure of what to do next, he took up a job teaching managerial economics at Harvard Business School; he also began to write a book on information theory. At the suggestion of his brother, Arthur Lander, he started to look at neurobiology "because there's a lot of information in the brain". In order to understand mathematical neurobiology, he felt he had to study cellular neurobiology; this in turn led to studying microbiology and continued down to the level of genetics. "When I finally feel I have learned genetics, I should get back to these other problems. But I'm still trying to get the genetics right".

His studies introduced him to David Botstein, a geneticist working at MIT. Botstein was working on a way to unravel how subtle differences in complex genetic systems can become disorders like cancer, diabetes, schizophrenia, and even obesity. Lander then joined Whitehead Institute (1986) and later joined MIT as a geneticist. In 1990 he founded W.I.C.G.R. (Whitehead Institute/MIT Center for Genome Research) W.I.C.G.R. was one of the world's leading centers of genome research, and under Doctor Lander's leadership, it has made great progress in developing new methods of analysing mammalian genomes. The Whitehead institute has also made important breakthroughs in applying this information to the study of human variation and particularly the study of medical genetics. The W.I.C.G.R. formed the basis for the foundation of the Broad Institute, a transformation in which Dr. Lander was instrumental.

Contributions to genomics

There were two main groups attempting to sequence the human genome: the first was the Human Genome Project, the public funded effort which intended to publish the information obtained freely open for all to use without restrictions. This was a collaborative effort involving many research groups from countries all over the world. The second effort was undertaken by Celera Genomics who intended to patent the information obtained and charge subscriptions for use of the sequence data (Celera has since abandoned this policy and has donated large amounts of sequence information for free public use) The H.G.P. was established first but moved slowly and when Celera entered the race they where able to take the lead. In the end the H.G.P. team published first and much of the credit goes to the W.I.C.G.R. They led the effort to develop genetic and physical maps of human and mouse genomes. This was an essential step to the clone by clone method of sequencing used in the H.G.P. The W.I.C.G.R. team sequenced approximately one third of the Human Genome making them the primary contributors to the H.G.P. This earned Lander the honour of being named first author when the draft of the human genome was published in 2001. For his work he was named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people of our time (2004). Lander has also appeared in numerous PBS documentaries about genetics. The WICGR has also made a leading contribution to the sequencing of the mouse genome. Aside from academic interest this is an important step in fully understanding the molecular biology of mice which are often used as model organisms in studies of everything from human diseases to embryonic development. Increased understanding of mice will thus facilitate many areas of research. The W.I.G.C.R. has also sequenced the genomes of Ciona intestinalis , the pufferfish , the filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa and multiple relatives of Saccharomyces cerevisiae one of the most studied yeasts. The Ciona intestinalis genome provides a good system for exploring the evolutionary origins of all vertebrates. Pufferfish have smaller sized genomes compared to other vertebrates; as a result their genomes are "mini" models for vertebrates. The sequencing of the yeasts related to Saccharomyces cerevisiae will ease the identification of key gene regulatory elements some of which may be common to all eukaryotes (including both plant and animal kingdoms).

Beyond genomics

Sequence data is just that a list of bases found in a given stretch of DNA, its value lies in the application of this information in the discoveries and new technologies it allows. In Dr. Lander's case the application was the study of disease he is the founder director of the Broad Institute this is a collaboration between MIT, Harvard, the Whitehead institute and affiliated hospitals its goal is "to create tools for genome medicine and make them broadly available to the scientific community; to apply these tools to propel the understanding and treatment of disease". To this end they are studying the variation in the human genome and have led an international effort which ha assembled a library of 2.1 million Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) these act as markers or signposts in the genome allowing the identification of disease susceptibility genes. They hope to construct a map of the human genome using blocks of these SNP called Linkage disequilibrium or LD this map will be of significant help in medical genetics. It will allow researchers to link a given condition to a given gene or set of genes using the LD as a marker this will allow for improved diagnostic procedures. Lander and his colleagues are hoping the LD map will allow them to test the Common Disease-Common Variant hypothesis which states than many common diseases may be caused by a small number of common alleles, for example 50% of the variance in susceptibility to Alzheimer's disease is explained by the common allele ApoE4. Landers group have recently discovered an important association which accounts for a large proportion of population risk for adult onset diabetes. They are also using family studies to identify the genes involved in many genetic diseases like inflammatory bowel disease.

Lander's most important work may be his development of a molecular taxonomy for cancers. The cancers are grouped according to gene expression and information like their response to chemotherapy is collected for each group. The division of cancers into homogenous subgroups will allow increased understanding of the molecular origins of these cancers and aid the design of more effective therapies. They have also identified a new type of leukaemia called MLL and have identified a gene which may serve as a target for a new drug.


Much of Lander's work is in genomics, a field which involves huge groups of researchers collaborating on large scale experiments. It is often difficult to single out one person as the driving force behind key discoveries, but Lander is an exception. He founded and directed WICGR, one of the worlds leading centres for genome research. His contribution to the Human Genome Project alone makes Lander's career noteworthy. He has continues to push the forefront of applying genomic knowledge to the difficult challenges of medical genetics, to which end he foudned the Broad Institute.

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Eric Lander