David Botstein

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David Botstein
Plos botstein.jpg
Born8 September 1942 (1942-09-08) (age 80)
Alma materHarvard University
University of Michigan
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)
Gruber Prize in Genetics (2003)
Albany Medical Center Prize (2010)
Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences (2013)
Warren Alpert Foundation Prize (2013)
Scientific career
Stanford University
Princeton University
ThesisThe Synthesis and Maturation of Phage-P22 DNA (1967)
Doctoral studentsOlga Troyanskaya[2]
Fred Winston
Douglas Koshland
Tim Stearns
Other notable studentsMichael Eisen (postdoc)

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[3][4][5][6] 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.[7]


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. Many Integrated Science students have gone on to be successful in the field of molecular biology.[8]

In 1980, Botstein and his colleagues Ray White, Mark Skolnick, and Ronald W. Davis proposed a method[9] 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.[10] 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[11] 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.[12]

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.[13] In 2016, Semantic Scholar AI program included Botstein on its list of most top ten most influential biomedical researchers.[14]


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. ^ 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.
  3. ^ "Princeton University - Department of Molecular Biology - David Botstein". Archived from the original on 2006-11-27. Retrieved 2006-11-08. David Botstein at Princeton Department of Molecular Biology
  4. ^ http://www.princeton.edu/genomics/botstein/ Botstein Laboratory Princeton
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ "The Daily Princetonian - Mapping the path of genetics". Archived from the original on 2006-10-20. Retrieved 2006-10-19. The Daily Princetonian – Mapping the path of genetics
  7. ^ Botstein, David (1967). The Synthesis and Maturation of Phage-P22 DNA (PhD thesis). University of Michigan. ProQuest 302261666.
  8. ^ Thean, Tara. "Integrated Science Pays Off for Graduates". The Daily Princetonian. Princeton University Press. Retrieved 23 October 2011.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ 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
  12. ^ "MBC Editorial Board".
  13. ^ "Congratulations to the recipients of the 2020 GSA Awards!". Genetics Sooiety of America. 29 January 2020. Retrieved 5 February 2020.
  14. ^ Singh, Dalmeet (2017-10-17). "Who's the most influential biomedical scientist? Computer program guided by artificial intelligence says it knows". Science | AAAS. Retrieved 2020-09-22.

External links[edit]

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

Succeeded by