You are here

Eric S. Lander

Founding Director's Page



Download photo
Please credit: Casey Atkins Photography, courtesy of Broad Institute

Eric S. Lander, Ph.D.

Eric Lander is president and founding director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard*. A geneticist, molecular biologist, and mathematician, he has played a pioneering role in all aspects of the reading, understanding, and biomedical application of the human genome. He was a principal leader of the international Human Genome Project.

Lander developed powerful methods for discovering the molecular basis of human diseases. Among them were the first methods for mapping the genes underlying polygenic disorders in which many genes play a role — including heart disease, diabetes, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer's disease; these paradigms have led to more than 100,000 discoveries connecting regions of the human DNA with hundreds of diseases and traits, shedding light on the underlying biological mechanisms.

He has done pioneering work on human genetic variation; human population history; genome evolution; regulatory elements; long non-coding RNAs; three-dimensional folding of the human genome; and genome-wide screens to discover the genes essential for biological processes using CRISPR-based genome editing.

Lander is professor of biology at MIT and professor of systems biology at Harvard Medical School. From 2009 to 2017, he served as co-chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology for President Barack Obama.

Lander’s honors and awards include the MacArthur Fellowship, the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, the Albany Prize in Medicine and Biological Research, the Gairdner Foundation International Award of Canada, the Dan David Prize of Israel, the Mendel Medal of the Genetics Society in the UK, the City of Medicine Award, the Abelson Prize from the AAAS, the Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology from the AAAS, the Woodrow Wilson Prize for Public Service from Princeton University, the James R. Killian Jr. Faculty Achievement Award from MIT, and the William Allan Award from the American Society of Human Genetics. 

*Update, January 2021: Lander has stepped down from his leadership role and has taken an unpaid, academic leave-of-absence from his faculty positions at Broad, MIT and Harvard to serve as White House Science Advisor to President Joseph R. Biden. Todd Golub has been named Broad Institute Director. Learn more.*

Casey Atkins Photography

January 2021