David Botstein

Honorary Degree Citation

David Botstein

David Botstein. Pioneering geneticist, genomicist, educator. During three decades of explosive growth in genetics, your insights have opened new avenues for research. Educated at Harvard and the University of Michigan, you have made many important scientific discoveries during your career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in the private sector, at Stanford University, and now at Princeton University. Your work on viruses and yeast has revealed the workings of fundamental biological processes at the cellular level. In 1980 you proposed the immensely powerful idea of anonymous genetic markers, a concept that revolutionized biology and provided the scaffolding for the human genetic map. You were an early architect of the Human Genome Project, with the vision to insist that benefits could only be gained if we considered humans as part of the web of life, comparing our genome to those of yeasts, worms, and flies. You are a founder of the field of functional genomics, which permits analysis of the expression of many genes simultaneously, a key to our understanding of how organisms respond to their environment as well as our understanding of cancer and other complex diseases. You are an innovative educator who recognizes that the training of young scientists is the first step toward future discovery. Since 2003 you have directed Princeton University’s Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, where you carry out your vision of interdisciplinary education. You have been a member of the National Academy of Sciences since 1981 and have received many awards, including in 1988 the Genetics Society of America Medal and in 2003 the Peter Gruber Genetics Prize, the leading international prize of its kind.

By the authority of the Board of Trustees of Colby College, I confer upon you, David Botstein, the degree of Doctor of Science honoris causa. The hood with which you have been invested and this diploma which I place in your hand are visible symbols of your membership in this society of scholars, to all the rights and privileges of which I declare you entitled.

Conferred May 28, 2006


David Botstein is a renowned geneticist and educator and director of the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, at Princeton University. His fundamental contributions to modern genetics include the discovery of many yeast and bacterial genes. In 1980, Botstein and three colleagues proposed a method for mapping genes that laid the groundwork for the Human Genome Project. A graduate of Harvard College who earned his doctorate from the University of Michigan, Botstein taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Stanford University School of Medicine and was vice president for science at the Genentech company prior to joining the Princeton faculty in 2002.

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