Leading Geneticist Eric Lander, Broad Institute President and Director, Named Worcester Polytechnic Institutes 2013 Commencement Speaker

WORCESTER, Mass. (PRWEB) April 24, 2013

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) announced today that Eric Lander, PhD, a principal leader of the Human Genome Project and president and founding director of The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, will deliver the address at the universitys 145th commencement exercises on Saturday, May 11, 2013. Honorary degrees will be awarded to Lander; Carol Tecla Christ, PhD, 10th president of Smith College; and Robert Beckett, 57, retired chairman and CEO of Robec, Inc.

Eric Lander is a wonderful example of a scientist who is dedicated to applying knowledge for the betterment of mankind, said WPI President and CEO Dennis D. Berkey. WPI was founded on the fusion of theory and practice because knowledge alone is not enough; it must be applied to make a difference. Lander and his colleagues embody these principles; they have not only created the key tools of human genomics, but they are working to apply them to gain an understanding of the basis of diseases such as cancer and diabetes. We expect the graduates and families celebrating the accomplishments of the WPI class of 2013 will leave here inspired and motivated by this mans work and by his words.

“WPIs additional 2013 honorary degree recipients are remarkable individuals, as well, and we are privileged to have them participating in our Commencement ceremony, Berkey continued. Carol Christ has been a transformational leader for Smith College and for higher education; and since his graduation from WPI in 1957, Bob Beckett has proven himself to be a visionary leader in the technology sector, and right here at his alma mater.

A geneticist, molecular biologist, and mathematician, Eric Lander has played a pioneering role in all aspects of the reading, understanding, and medical application of the human genome. He was a principal leader of the international Human Genome Project (HGP) from 1990 to 2003, with his group being the largest contributor to the mapping and sequencing of the human genetic blueprint. Lander was an early pioneer in the free availability of genomic tools and information. He has mentored an extraordinary cadre of young scientists who have become the next generation of leaders in medical genomics.

In 2004 Lander helped launch the Broad Institute, a new kind of collaborative biomedical research institutions focused on genomic medicine. The Broads mission is to transform medicine by revealing the fundamental mechanisms of diseases and developing new ways to create medicines to treat them. It grew from two different groundbreaking organizations a flagship center of the Human Genome Project and an innovative institute pioneering new approaches in chemistry and human biology. The Broad has defined a new collaborative model for biomedical research, bringing together extraordinary scientists across Harvard, MIT, and the Harvard-affiliated hospitals.

Lander has been on the MIT faculty since 1989 and the Harvard faculty since 2004. He is currently a professor of biology at MIT and professor of systems biology at Harvard Medical School. In 1990 he founded the Whitehead Institute/MIT Center for Genome Research, which was a flagship of the Human Genome Project; he became part of the newly founded Broad Institute in 2003. He served as an assistant and associate professor of managerial economics at the Harvard Business School from 1981 to 1990.

Lander is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, the Gairdner International Award, the Max Delbr

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