Patrick O. Brown

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For other people with the same name, see Patrick Brown (disambiguation).
Patrick O. Brown
Patrick O Brown.jpg
Pat Brown (Photo: Jane Gitschier)
Born Patrick O'Reilly Brown
(1954-09-23) September 23, 1954 (age 62)[citation needed]
Washington, DC, US
Other names Pat
Nationality American
Fields Biochemistry
Institutions Stanford University
Alma mater University of Chicago
Thesis Studies on DNA Topoisomerases (1980)
Doctoral advisor Nicholas Cozzarelli
Known for Impossible Foods, DNA microarrays[1][2]
Public Library of Science
Notable awards NAS Award in Molecular Biology (2000)
Takeda award (2002)
Curt Stern Award (2005)

Patrick "Pat" O'Reilly Brown, (born 1954) is chief executive and founder of Impossible Foods Inc.[3] and professor emeritus in the department of biochemistry at Stanford University.[4] Brown is co-founder of the Public Library of Science,[5] inventor of the DNA microarray,[6] and a former investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute.[7]


Brown received each of his degrees from the University of Chicago, including his B.S. and M.D. His Ph.D., granted in 1980 while under the guidance of Nicholas R. Cozzarelli, involved the study of DNA topoisomerases.[8]


Following his PhD, Brown did his postdoctoral research with J. Michael Bishop and Harold Varmus at University of California, San Francisco.[8] His research uses DNA microarrays to study the gene expression patterns associated with especially cancer. He became an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 1988. In 2001, Brown helped lead the Public Library of Science (PLOS) initiative to make published scientific research open access and freely available to researchers in the scientific community.[9] He and Michael Eisen of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory advocated for designing alternative systems to fund for scientific publishing. [10] He was elected to the United States National Academy of Sciences in 2002, identifying him as one of the top 2000 scientists in the nation. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.[11]

In 2009, Brown took an 18-month sabbatical where he considered how to spend the rest of his career.[12] Brown decided that the world's largest environmental problem,[13] and the problem where he could have the most impact, was animal farming. He organized a conference to raise awareness of the problem.[14] But the National Research Council workshop, called "The Role of Animal Agriculture in a Sustainable 21st Century Global Food System,” had minimal impact; soon after, he decided the best way to reduce animal agriculture was to offer a competing product in the free market.[15]

By the end of his sabbatical, Brown had articulated the first steps of his business plan and began to identify a small team of scientists to determine precisely why meat smells, handles, cooks and tastes like meat.[16] Impossible Foods makes the plant-based Impossible Burger, and the company is also working on plant-based pork, chicken, fish and dairy products made without any animals. [17]


In 2002 he received a Takeda award, recognizing his work in "the development of DNA microarrays with pre-synthesized DNA probes and the promotion of the technology by releasing the production methods on the Internet."[18]

In 2005 he received the Curt Stern Award for his contributions to the development and application of gene-based expression microarrays.[19]

In recognition of Brown's pioneering work in the development of microarrays and the diverse applications of this technology in genetic research, the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities (ABRF) selected him for the ABRF 2010 Award.

He is a co-founder of the Public Library of Science, an advocate of open access publishing,[20] and a member of the Canary Foundation science team.


  1. ^ Schena, M.; Shalon, D.; Davis, R. W.; Brown, P. O. (1995). "Quantitative Monitoring of Gene Expression Patterns with a Complementary DNA Microarray". Science. 270 (5235): 467–470. doi:10.1126/science.270.5235.467. PMID 7569999. 
  2. ^ 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 24541Freely accessible. PMID 9843981. 
  3. ^
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  8. ^ a b Brown, P. O. (2013). "An interview with Patrick O Brown on the origins and future of open access". BMC Biology. 11: 33–110. doi:10.1186/1741-7007-11-33. PMC 3626920Freely accessible. PMID 23587113. 
  9. ^ Brower, Vicki (2001-11-15). "Public library of science shifts gears". EMBO Reports. 2 (11): 972–973. doi:10.1093/embo-reports/kve239. ISSN 1469-221X. PMC 1084138Freely accessible. PMID 11713184. 
  10. ^ Eisen, Michael B.; Brown, Patrick O.; Varmus, Harold E. (2002-09-12). "Public-access group supports PubMed Central". Nature. 419 (6903): 111–111. doi:10.1038/419111c. ISSN 0028-0836. 
  11. ^ "HHMI Bio". HHMI. Retrieved 7 January 2013. 
  12. ^ "The Biography of a Plant-Based Burger: One man's mission to make meat obsolete". 2016-09-06. 
  13. ^ "The Triple Whopper Environmental Impact of Global Meat Production". 2013-12-16. ,
  14. ^
  15. ^ "The Biography of a Plant-Based Burger: One man's mission to make meat obsolete". 2016-09-06. 
  16. ^ "The Biography of a Plant-Based Burger: One man's mission to make meat obsolete". 2016-09-06. 
  17. ^ "The Secret of These New Veggie Burgers: Plant Blood". WSJ. Retrieved 21 Apr 2015. 
  18. ^ "Takeda Award 2002 Achievements Fact Sheet" (PDF) (Press release). Takeda Foundation. Retrieved 2007-10-17. 
  19. ^ Eichler, Evan (2006). "Introductory Speech for Patrick O. Brown* * Previously presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics, in Salt Lake City, on October 29, 2005". The American Journal of Human Genetics. 79 (3): 427–428. doi:10.1086/500330. PMC 1559547Freely accessible. PMID 16909379. 
  20. ^ Roberts, R. J.; Varmus, H. E.; Ashburner, M.; Brown, P. O.; Eisen, M. B.; Khosla, C.; Kirschner, M.; Nusse, R.; Scott, M. (2001). "Information Access: Building A GenBank of the Published Literature". Science. 291 (5512): 2318a. doi:10.1126/science.1060273.