When a grand old scientist talks, you listen: Maynard Olson and Genomic Medicine

All opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Novo Nordisk.

Last night I had the great opportunity to hear Maynard Olson give a public lecture on Genomic Medicine.  As one of the founders of the Human Genome Project, he’s been around in a pivotal role for much of the revolution in our understanding of the genome.  A revolution, as he himself points out, that we are still just beginning.

He gave his speech as part of the UW Genome Sciences Department’s summer lecture series, and spoke to a packed auditorium about how the information we are learning about the genome has implications for diagnostics, therapeutics, and public policy.  I’ve heard Maynard speak before, and he’s always refreshingly down-to-earth, candid and measured in his descriptions and comments.  Not for him are flights of speculation or hyperbole, and he actually ended his talk with a call to stop the hype.  As he said, “The product is solid.  It doesn’t need hype.”  Maynard, who is slim, with a fringe of red hair that’s silvering at the sides (kind of like Reed Richards), does not look at all near his age of about seventy years. Continue reading