UCSC genome group is among 25 global innovators honored by The Tech Museum of Innovation

UCSC genome group is among 25 global innovators honored by The Tech Museum of Innovation
UCSC genome group is among 25 global innovators honored by The Tech Museum of Innovation
Monday, September 15, 2003

The Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering (CBSE) at the University of California, Santa Cruz, has been honored by The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose as one of 25 laureates for the 2003 Tech Museum Awards: Technology Benefiting Humanity.

The CBSE's Genome Bioinformatics Group was recognized in the Health Award category for its crucial role in the assembly and analysis of the human genome sequence.

On October 15 at a black tie awards gala, Silicon Valley leaders and delegates from the United Nations will join together to honor all 25 laureates, and one finalist from each of five categories will be awarded a $50,000 cash honorarium.

UCSC's Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering is led by David Haussler, professor of computer science and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. CBSE research scientist Jim Kent wrote the software program used to assemble fragmented sequence data from the Human Genome Project into intact DNA sequences representing the human chromosomes. Kent also developed the extremely popular UCSC Genome Browser, which provides a web-based portal for scientific exploration of the human genome sequence.

This portal now receives about 140,000 page requests a day from scientists in dozens of countries around the world.

Haussler, Kent, and other members of the center's Genome Bioinformatics Group continue to develop the Genome Browser and collaborate with the International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium on the analysis of the human genome sequence.

"We feel highly honored to have been chosen for this award," Haussler said.

"Of course, it is important to recognize that our work on the human genome is part of a very large international collaboration that is advancing our knowledge of the genome as a new foundation for medicine and human biology," he added.

Knowledge of the human genome sequence will ultimately allow identification of genes involved in many human diseases, enabling the development of new diagnostics and treatments.

The Tech Museum Awards are designed to honor individuals, for-profit companies, and public and not-for-profit organizations from around the world who are applying technology to profoundly improve the human condition in the categories of education, equality, environment, economic development, and health.

"Reflecting the mission of The Tech Museum of Innovation, these awards recognize the innovators who use technology to improve people's lives," said Peter Giles, president and chief executive officer of The Tech Museum.

The concept for The Tech Museum Awards and the five categories was inspired in part by "The State of the Future at the Millennium" report of The Millennium Project of the American Council for the United Nations University, which recommends that award recognition is an effective way to accelerate scientific breakthroughs and technological applications to improve the human condition. The awards were inaugurated in 2001.

Judging for The Tech Museum Awards is independently conducted by Santa Clara University's Center for Science, Technology and Society, a global network of academic and industry experts dedicated to understanding and influencing how science and technology impact society. They assemble five panels of judges from around the world, recruited from research institutions, industry, and the public sector, who judged the nominations on five criteria.

The Tech Museum Awards represent a collaborative effort among educational institutions and businesses. Among Silicon Valley's leaders supporting The Tech Museum Awards are presenting sponsor, Applied Materials, Inc., and Santa Clara University's Center for Science, Technology and Society. Category sponsors are the NASDAQ Stock Market, Knight Ridder, Intel, and Accenture.