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Dr. Leroy Hood to receive prestigious BioMed SA 2011 Julio Palmaz Award for Innovation in Healthcare and the Biosciences
September 20, 2011

(SAN ANTONIO) September 20, 2011 - BioMed SA, the non-profit corporation focused on growing and promoting San Antonio's thriving healthcare and bioscience sector, will award its sixth annual Julio Palmaz Award for Innovation in Healthcare and the Biosciences to Leroy Hood, MD, Ph.D, President and Co-founder, Institute for Systems Biology, Seattle, Washington. The award, named after Palmaz® Stent inventor Julio Palmaz, M.D., honors individuals who have made significant contributions to advance the healthcare and bioscience fields. Dr. Hood will accept the award at BioMed SA's annual Palmaz Award dinner to be held in San Antonio on September 20, 2011.

Previous recipients of the Palmaz Award include C. Mauli Agrawal, Dean of Engineering at The University of Texas at San Antonio (2010), internationally acclaimed inventor Dean Kamen of DEKA Research & Development Corp. in New Hampshire (2009); Karen Davis, Ph.D, president of The Commonwealth Fund in New York (2007); and San Antonio pediatric surgeons Drs. Robert Campbell, Melvin Smith (deceased), and Kaye Wilkins from The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio and its academic children's hospital at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa (2008).

"Dr. Hood's pioneering work in developing tools and approaches that have revolutionized molecular biology, genomics, and medicine made him a standout choice for this year's award," said Kenneth P. Trevett, Chair of BioMed SA. "He is a visionary advocate for interdisciplinary research and for a transformative approach to clinical care that is predictive, preventive, personalized, and participatory. Our selection committee was also impressed by his strong belief in and practice of collaboration, which we consider to be a hallmark of San Antonio's biomedical community as well."

Of his selection, Dr. Hood said, "The Palmaz Award is a wonderful validation of the many fantastic people that I have worked with throughout my career -- colleagues who have taught me far more than I them. The award is also a personal honor that I appreciate greatly, knowing just how many wonderful scientists with singular accomplishments populate our world."

Unparalleled pioneer in the translation of technology
Dr. Hood is a world-renowned biotechnology inventor and visionary, whose discoveries have permanently changed the course of biology and revolutionized the understanding of genetics, life, and human health. He has been called "an unparalleled pioneer" in the translation of technology. He created the technological foundation for the sciences of genomics (study of genes) and proteomics (study of proteins) through his invention of five groundbreaking instruments and through his pioneering of the fields of systems biology and systems medicine.

Dr. Hood's first two instruments, the protein sequencer and protein synthesizer, allowed scientists to characterize a series of new proteins whose genes could then be cloned and analyzed. These were followed by the DNA synthesizer, the first of three instruments for genomic analyses. Most notably, the automated DNA sequencer he developed in 1986 made possible high-speed sequencing of human genomes and was the key technology enabling the Human Genome Project.

In the early 1990s, he and his colleagues went on to develop the ink-jet DNA synthesis technology for creating DNA arrays with tens of thousands of gene fragments, one of the first of the so-called DNA chips.

The first four instruments were commercialized by Applied Biosystems, Inc., a company Dr. Hood founded in 1981, and the ink-jet technology was commercialized by Agilent Technologies, making these tools immediately available to scientists around the world.

Dr. Hood has also played a key role in founding more than 13 biotechnology companies, including Amgen, Applied Biosystems, Systemix, Darwin, Rosetta¸ and Integrated Diagnostics. Amgen and Applied Biosystems have a combined market capitalization of over $50 billion.

In 2000, Dr. Hood co-founded the Institute for Systems Biology (ISB), a nonprofit research institute to address the greatest challenge of 21st century science - understanding biological complexity. Since its founding, the ISB has been a pioneering source of knowledge, technologies, and computational tools, as well as creative ways of understanding, conducting, and communicating science.

Together these endeavors are catalyzing paradigm changes in how the life sciences and medicine are practiced globally and generating results that can be applied to some of society's most perplexing problems in human health and environmental sustainability.

Dr. Hood's newest endeavor, P4 Medicine will transform the practice of medicine.

Most recently, Dr. Hood's efforts have led him to introduce a new approach he calls "P4 Medicine," which he believes will transform the practice of medicine, moving it from a largely reactive discipline to a proactive one, enabling researchers to quantify wellness and demystify disease.

Dr. Hood is one of only ten individuals to be elected to all three U.S. National Academies: the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Institute of Medicine.

Earlier this year, Dr. Hood received the 2011 Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ Prize from the National Academy of Engineering "for automating DNA sequencing that revolutionized biomedicine and forensic science." He also received the 2005 Heinz Award for Technology, the Economy and Employment, the 2003 Lemelson-MIT Prize, the 2002 Kyoto Prize for Advanced Technology, and the 1987 Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research. He was elected to the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2007.


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