Eric Douglas Green
Doctor of Science
As director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), Eric D. Green, MD, PhD, has helped to shape the field of genomics and its application to medicine.
He has been at the forefront of genomics research during his 30-plus year career as a physician-scientist. This included playing a major start-to-finish role in the Human Genome Project, the international effort from 1990 to 2003 that mapped and sequenced the human genome — an achievement that has been compared to the moon shot.
Beginning with the launch of the Human Genome Project, Dr. Green directed a highly productive research program at the forefront of efforts to map, sequence and understand genomes (the DNA blueprint of all life forms).
These efforts eventually blossomed into a novel research initiative that provided some of the first detailed glimpses into the similarities and differences among animal genomes, which yielded important new insights about genome structure, function and evolution.
In addition, his work in human genetics led to the identification and characterization of several human disease genes, including those implicated in certain forms of hereditary deafness, vascular disease and inherited peripheral neuropathy.
In addition to his own scientific contributions, Dr. Green has held key leadership positions in genomics for more than two decades, including serving as founding director of the NIH Intramural Sequencing Center, chief of the NHGRI Genome Technology Branch and scientific director of the NHGRI.
Since 2009, he has served as director of the NHGRI, which is the largest organization in the world solely dedicated to genomics research.
A St. Louis native, Dr. Green earned a bachelor’s degree in bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1981. He then returned to St. Louis and earned his medical and doctoral degrees at Washington University School of Medicine in 1987.
Following clinical training in laboratory medicine and postdoctoral research in genomics, he joined the Washington University faculty as an assistant professor of pathology and genetics and as a co-investigator in the Human Genome Center, one of the first groups funded to pursue the goals of the Human Genome Project.
In 1994, he joined the Intramural Research Program of what was then the National Center for Human Genome Research, now the NHGRI.
As director of NHGRI, Dr. Green has facilitated the dissemination of genomic technologies and approaches across all of biomedical research and, in particular, helped to catalyze the ongoing uptake of genomics into medical practice.
With the rapidly expanding scope of genomics, his efforts have also involved significant coordination with multiple components of the NIH as well as other agencies and organizations around the world.
Dr. Green has also played pivotal leadership roles in the development of several broader, high-profile efforts relevant to genomics, including the Smithsonian-NHGRI exhibition Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code, the NIH Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) program, the NIH Genomic Data Sharing Policy, and the U.S. Precision Medicine Initiative. In addition, he continues to serve on numerous NIH advisory and working groups.
Dr. Green has received numerous awards over his multi-decade career, recognizing his contributions to genomics as well as his leadership in steering the nation’s pursuit of advancing human health through genomics research.
These honors include a Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, a Lucille P. Markey Scholar Award in Biomedical Science, an Alumni Achievement Award from Washington University School of Medicine, a Distinguished Alumni Award from Washington University, and a Ladue Horton Watkins High School Distinguished Alumni Award.
Dr. Green was also elected into the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians.
Dr. Green has co-authored more than 360 scientific publications. For many years, he has served as an editor of the journal Genome Research and a co-editor of the Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics. Previously, he served as a series editor of Genome Analysis: A Laboratory Manual.
He is a sought-after speaker, giving numerous distinguished lectures around the world each year, and regularly helps to organize major international genomics conferences.
Dr. Green and his wife, Gabriela Adelt Green, MD, have two children, Joshua and Abigail. They live in Bethesda, Maryland.