News Center

News from the Reed College public affairs office

Search: or

Press Release


Media Contact

Beth Sorensen
Office of Communications


Portland, OR (August 13, 2003) -- Reed College president Colin Diver will officially open the 2003-04 academic year at Reed College with convocation ceremonies at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, August 27, in the Kaul Auditorium on the Reed campus. The Vollum Award for Distinguished Accomplishment in Science and Technology will be presented to Dr. Leroy Hood, president of the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle, Washington, and one of the world’s leading scientists in molecular biotechnology and genomics. Hood was one of the early advocates and key players in the Human Genome project — the quest to decipher the sequence of human DNA.

Reed’s convocation ceremony will also include an address, "Aristocracy, Athletics, and Education," by Nigel Nicholson, associate professor of classics and humanities at Reed.

Most recently, Dr. Hood's lifelong contributions to biotechnology have earned him the prestigious Lemelson-MIT prize for Invention and Innovation. In addition, he received the 2002 Kyoto Prize in Advanced Technology and was presented the Lasker Award in 1987 for his studies on the mechanism of immune diversity. With his development of the DNA gene sequencer and other automated biotechnical instrumentation, Dr. Hood has played a crucial role in contributing to the successful mapping of the human genome during the 1990s--a process originally predicted to require up to 100 years to complete.

Hood, a native of Shelby, Montana, also serves as professor at large at the Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences and as affiliate professor in the departments of bioengineering, computer science, immunology, and genome sciences at the University of Washington, in Seattle. Hood earned an M.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1964 and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1968. He has published more than 500 peer-reviewed papers and co-authored textbooks in biochemistry, immunology, molecular biology, and genetics.

About the Vollum Award

The Vollum Award was created in 1975 as a tribute to the late C. Howard Vollum, a 1936 Reed graduate and lifelong friend of the college. Winners are selected for the perseverance, fresh approach to problems and solutions, and creative imagination that characterized Vollum’s career. The award winner receives $5,000 and a silver medal encased in a walnut triptych. The Vollum Award was endowed in 1975 by a grant from the Millicent Foundation, now a part of the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust.

About the Institute for Systems Biology

In 2000, Hood co-founded the Institute for Systems Biology (ISB), an internationally renowned non-profit research institute dedicated to the study and application of systems biology. ISB’s goal is to unravel the mysteries of human biology and identify strategies for predicting and preventing diseases such as cancer, arthritis, and AIDS. The driving force behind the innovative "systems" approach is the integration of biology, computation, and technology. This approach allows scientists to analyze all of the elements in a system rather than one gene or protein at a time. The institute has grown to eight faculty and more than 170 staff members, has been awarded almost $130 million in funding, and has an extensive network of academic and industrial partners.

Reed College, in Portland, Oregon, is an undergraduate institution of the liberal arts and sciences dedicated to sustaining the highest intellectual standards in the country. With an enrollment of about 1,360 students, Reed ranks third in the undergraduate origins of Ph.D.s in the United States and second in the number of Rhodes scholars from a liberal arts college (31 since 1915).