David Botstein

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David Botstein
Plos botstein.jpg
Born 8 September 1942 (1942-09-08) (age 74)
Zurich, Switzerland
Fields Biology
Institutions MIT
Stanford University
Princeton University
Alma mater Harvard University
University of Michigan
Thesis The Synthesis and Maturation of Phage-P22 DNA (1967)
Doctoral students Olga Troyanskaya[1]
Nikolai Slavov[2]
Fred Winston
Mark Rose
Douglas Koshland
Chris Kaiser
Other notable students Michael Eisen (postdoc)
Notable awards Eli Lilly and Company Award in Microbiology (1978)
Genetics Society of America Medal (1988)[3]
Allan Award of the American Society of Human Genetics (1989)
Gruber Prize in Genetics (2003)
Albany Medical Center Prize (2010)
Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences (2013)

David Botstein (born 8 September 1942) is an American biologist serving as the Chief Scientific Officer of Calico. He served as the director of the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton University[4][5][6][7] from 2003–2013, 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. Dr. 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. Many Integrated Science students have gone on to be successful in the field of molecular biology.[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] 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),[3] the Allan Award of the American Society of Human Genetics (1989, with Ray White), the Gruber Prize in Genetics (2003) and the Albany Medical Center Prize (2010, with Eric Lander and Francis Collins). In 2013 he was awarded the $3 million Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences for his work.


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. ^ 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. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002081. PMC 3107244free to read. 
  2. ^ http://alum.mit.edu/www/nslavov
  3. ^ a b Mahowald, A. (1988). "Genetics society of america records, proceedings and reports". Genetics. 119 (2): s1–s15. PMC 1203430free to read. PMID 17246435. 
  4. ^ http://www.molbio2.princeton.edu/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=201 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 1464829free to read. PMID 16733551. 
  7. ^ http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/archives/2005/10/18/news/13503.shtml 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. 
  9. ^ Thean, Tara. "Integrated Science Pays Off for Graduates". The Daily Princetonian. Princeton University Press. Retrieved 23 October 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 1686077free to read. 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. doi:10.1073/pnas.95.25.14863. PMC 24541free to read. 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 3037419free to read. PMID 10802651.  open access publication - free to read
  13. ^ "MBC Editorial Board". 

External links[edit]

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

Succeeded by
Michael Levine