Dr. Lee Hood is the co-founder and president of the Institute for Systems Biology. A world-renowned biologist, Dr. Hood is the pioneer of the systems approach, a holistic, collaborative approach to biology based on the understanding that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Dr. Hood compares systems biology to the concept of the “elephant and the six blind men, who each a feel a different part of the elephant, and one proclaims it’s a spear, and another it’s a pole, and another it’s a fan. The fact is, the elephant is all of those things and many more.”
Dr. Hood started his career at the California Institute of Technologies, where he was involved in the development of several innovative instruments in biology, including the DNA geme synthesizer and sequencer, and the protein synthesizer and sequencer. His technologies have helped pioneer the Human Genome Project and been critical to our understanding of contemporary biology. He has also produced over 700 publications, 36 patents, and received 17 honorary degrees. Dr. Hood is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.
Currently, Dr. Hood continues to advance the systems approach in new areas such as medicine. His recently founded company, Arivale, seeks to create a “new kind of medicine” that integrates the “four P’s”: predictive, preventive, personalized, and participatory. Dr. Hood believes that Arivale and the systems approach to medicine will create a new approach to medicine which focuses on wellness, rather than treating disease. He also encourages using systems biology to address important environmental issues, saying “can we figure out unorthodox ways to grow food which save land, yet which make us less dependent on fertilizers that create all sorts of complex wastes, and just make it more more efficient to produce healthy crops? And the answer is you can.”