Dr. Edward M. (Eddy) Rubin, an internationally known geneticist and medical researcher, has been named Director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute (JGI). Rubin was also named Director of the Genomics Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL).
Rubin, who had been serving as Interim Director of JGI since spring 2002, was selected for the position after a nationwide search. LBNL Director Charles V. Shank announced the appointment on behalf of the three University of California laboratories that manage the JGI: LBNL and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.
“Dr. Rubin’s international reputation in genomics studies makes him an ideal candidate” for the JGI directorship, Shank said. “All of us (at the DOE laboratories) owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude for his exemplary leadership thus far, and I know I speak for all of us when I express optimism and excitement about the possibilities for the future.”
Rubin said he was “enormously enthusiastic and optimistic” about the JGI’s “unique capabilities and strengths”–not only for its world-class genome sequencing capacity but for its emerging role as a cutting-edge biological research center. One immediate goal for the JGI, he said, would be to engage scientists at the DOE labs and the broader scientific community as users of the huge data sets being produced by the JGI’s banks of DNA sequencers. “With this data we can do many unique things in science,” he said.
Rubin received his B.A. degree in physics from UC-San Diego, his M.D. from the University of Rochester Medical Center, and his Ph.D. in biophysics from the University of Rochester. Following a genetics fellowship at UC San Francisco, he became a research associate at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Rubin joined LBNL in 1988 and became head of the lab’s Genome Sciences Department in 1998. His research has involved the development of computational and biological approaches to the analysis of DNA sequence data.
Rubin’s most recent work, supported by a Genomic Applications Program funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has emphasized the use of large-scale cross-species DNA sequence comparisons to identify regions of the human genome that encode important biological functions.
Rubin has been active in the Human Genome Project both in the United States and internationally. He served as co-chair of the Cold Spring Harbor Genome Sequencing and Biology Meeting and was scientific chair of the International Human Genome Organization.
The Joint Genome Institute, established in 1997, is one of the largest and most productive publicly funded genome sequencing centers in the world. For the Human Genome Project, JGI sequenced human chromosomes 5, 16, and 19, which together constitute 11 percent of the human genome. JGI sequenced mouse DNA related to human chromosome 19 to illuminate the molecular evolutionary history of the two species, and last year it completed draft sequences of the pufferfish Fugu rubripes and the sea squirt Ciona intestinalis.
JGI employs about 240 people and has whole genome sequencing programs that include vertebrates, fungi, plants, and bacteria and other single-celled microbes. Funding for the JGI is predominantly from the Office of Biological and Environmental Research in DOE’s Office of Science, with additional funding from NIH, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Additional information and progress reports on JGI projects, including daily updates of sequence information and assembly statistics, are available at www.jgi.doe.gov