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David Botstein

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David Botstein
BornSeptember 8, 1942 (1942-09-08) (age 81)
Alma materHarvard University
University of Michigan
Known forGenetic linkage map using restriction fragment length polymorphisms
RelativesLeon Botstein (brother)
AwardsEli Lilly and Company Award in Microbiology (1978)
Genetics Society of America Medal (1988)[1]
Allan Award of the American Society of Human Genetics (1989)
Rosenstiel Award (1991)
Novartis-Drew Award (2003)
Gruber Prize in Genetics (2003)
Albany Medical Center Prize (2010)
Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences (2013)
Warren Alpert Foundation Prize (2013)
Double Helix Medal (2015)[2]
Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal (2020)
Scientific career
Stanford University
Princeton University
ThesisThe Synthesis and Maturation of Phage-P22 DNA (1967)
Doctoral studentsOlga Troyanskaya[3]
Fred Winston
Douglas Koshland
Tim Stearns
Other notable studentsMichael Eisen (postdoc)

David Botstein (born September 8, 1942) is an American biologist who is the chief scientific officer of Calico. He was the director of the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton University[4][5][6][7] from 2003 to 2013, where he remains an Anthony B. Evnin Professor of Genomics.


Botstein graduated from the Bronx High School of Science in 1959, and Harvard University in 1963. He started his Ph.D. work under Maurice Sanford Fox at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, then moved and received a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1967 for work on P22 phage.[8]


Botstein taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he became a professor of genetics. Botstein joined Genentech, Inc. in 1987 as vice president – science. In 1990, he became chairman of the Department of Genetics at Stanford University. Botstein was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 1981 and to the Institute of Medicine in 1993.

Botstein is the director of the Integrated Science Program at Princeton University.[9]

In 1980, Botstein and his colleagues Ray White, Mark Skolnick, and Ronald W. Davis proposed a method[10] for constructing a genetic linkage map using restriction fragment length polymorphisms that was used in subsequent years to identify several human disease genes including Huntington's and BRCA1. Variations of this method were used in the mapping efforts that predated and enabled the sequencing phase of the Human Genome Project.

In 1998, Botstein and his postdoctoral fellow Michael Eisen, together with graduate student Paul Spellman and colleague Patrick Brown, developed a statistical method and graphical interface that is widely used to interpret genomic data including microarray data.[11] This approach was refined and applied for diverse applications, including for a molecular classification of heterogenous tumors using gene expression. These efforts included work on discovery of tumor subtypes with Lou Staudt, Ash Alizadeh and Ronald Levy, yielding a refined classification of diffuse large B cell lymphomas, and in painting the molecular portraits for refined classification of breast cancers with Anne-Lise Børresen-Dale and Charles Perou. He has subsequently worked on the creation of the influential Gene Ontology[12] with Michael Ashburner and Suzanna Lewis. He is one of the founding editors of the journal Molecular Biology of the Cell, along with Erkki Ruoslahti and Keith Yamamoto.[13]

In 2013, Botstein was named chief scientific officer of Google's anti-aging health startup Calico.


Botstein has won the Eli Lilly and Company Award in Microbiology (1978), the Genetics Society of America Medal (1988, with Ira Herskowitz),[1] the Allan Award of the American Society of Human Genetics (1989, with Ray White), the Gruber Prize in Genetics (2003), the Albany Medical Center Prize (2010, with Eric Lander and Francis Collins) and the Dan David Prize in 2012. In 2013 he was awarded the $3 million Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences for his work and in 2020 the Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal of the Genetics Society of America.[14] In 2016, Semantic Scholar AI program included Botstein on its list of most top ten most influential biomedical researchers.[15]


Botstein is an alumnus of Camp Rising Sun. He is the brother of the conductor Leon Botstein. Both of Botstein's parents were physicians.


  1. ^ a b Mahowald, A. (1988). "Genetics society of america records, proceedings and reports". Genetics. 119 (2): s1–s15. doi:10.1093/genetics/119.2.s1. PMC 1203430. PMID 17246435.
  2. ^ "2015 Double Helix Medal recipient Dr. David Botstein". Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. November 12, 2015. Retrieved October 13, 2022.
  3. ^ Mullins, J.; Morrison Mckay, B. (2011). "International Society for Computational Biology Honors Michael Ashburner and Olga Troyanskaya with Top Bioinformatics/Computational Biology Awards for 2011". PLOS Computational Biology. 7 (6): e1002081. Bibcode:2011PLSCB...7E2081M. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002081. PMC 3107244.
  4. ^ "Princeton University - Department of Molecular Biology - David Botstein". Archived from the original on November 27, 2006. Retrieved November 8, 2006. David Botstein at Princeton Department of Molecular Biology
  5. ^ https://www.princeton.edu/genomics/botstein/ Botstein Laboratory Princeton
  6. ^ Gitschier, J. (2006). "Willing to Do the Math: An Interview with David Botstein". PLOS Genetics. 2 (5): e79. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.0020079. PMC 1464829. PMID 16733551.
  7. ^ "The Daily Princetonian - Mapping the path of genetics". Archived from the original on October 20, 2006. Retrieved October 19, 2006. The Daily Princetonian – Mapping the path of genetics
  8. ^ Botstein, David (1967). The Synthesis and Maturation of Phage-P22 DNA (PhD thesis). University of Michigan. ProQuest 302261666.
  9. ^ Thean, Tara. "Integrated Science Pays Off for Graduates". The Daily Princetonian. Princeton University Press. Archived from the original on August 30, 2011. Retrieved October 23, 2011.
  10. ^ Botstein, D.; White, R.; Skolnick, M.; Davis, R. (1980). "Construction of a genetic linkage map in man using restriction fragment length polymorphisms". American Journal of Human Genetics. 32 (3): 314–331. PMC 1686077. PMID 6247908.
  11. ^ Eisen, M.; Spellman, P.; Brown, P.; Botstein, D. (1998). "Cluster analysis and display of genome-wide expression patterns". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 95 (25): 14863–14868. Bibcode:1998PNAS...9514863E. doi:10.1073/pnas.95.25.14863. PMC 24541. PMID 9843981.
  12. ^ Botstein, D.; Cherry, J. M.; Ashburner, M.; Ball, C. A.; Blake, J. A.; Butler, H.; Davis, A. P.; Dolinski, K.; Dwight, S. S.; Eppig, J. T.; Harris, M. A.; Hill, D. P.; Issel-Tarver, L.; Kasarskis, A.; Lewis, S.; Matese, J. C.; Richardson, J. E.; Ringwald, M.; Rubin, G. M.; Sherlock, G. (2000). "Gene ontology: Tool for the unification of biology. The Gene Ontology Consortium". Nature Genetics. 25 (1): 25–29. doi:10.1038/75556. PMC 3037419. PMID 10802651. Open access icon
  13. ^ "MBC Editorial Board".
  14. ^ "Congratulations to the recipients of the 2020 GSA Awards!". Genetics Sooiety of America. January 29, 2020. Retrieved February 5, 2020.
  15. ^ Singh, Dalmeet (October 17, 2017). "Who's the most influential biomedical scientist? Computer program guided by artificial intelligence says it knows". Science | AAAS. Retrieved September 22, 2020.

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by Director
Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics
Princeton University

Succeeded by