American Philosophical Society
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207. Genetics[X]
1Name:  Dr. Maynard V. Olson
 Institution:  University of Washington
 Year Elected:  2005
 Class:  2. Biological Sciences
 Subdivision:  207. Genetics
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1945
Maynard Olson graduated from Caltech with a Bachelor's degree in chemistry and received his Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from Stanford University in 1970, where his thesis advisor was Henry Taube. After five years on the faculty of the Department of Chemistry at Dartmouth College, he changed his research emphasis to molecular genetics, working with Benjamin Hall in the Department of Genetics at the University of Washington. During that period, in the late 1970's, he participated in early applications of recombinant-DNA techniques to problems in yeast genetics; his research with Hall included the first sequencing of a mutant eukaryotic gene and one of the first applications of restriction-fragment length polymorphisms. In 1979, he moved to the Department of Genetics at Washington University in St. Louis, where he became a Professor of Genetics in 1986 and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 1989. At Washington University, he participated in the development of systematic approaches to the analysis of complex genomes, working both on the yeast and human genomes. This research included the development of new implementations of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, including field-inversion gel electrophoresis, determination of the first complete electrophoretic karyotype of a eukaryotic organism, the development of computer-based methods for the construction of whole-genome physical maps based on clone fingerprints, the development of the yeast-artificial-chromosome cloning system, and the introduction of STS-content mapping as an approach to the low-resolution physical mapping of mammalian genomes. In 1992, he was awarded the Genetics Society of America Medal for outstanding contributions to genetics during the previous 15 years. Later that year, he moved back to the University of Washington where he is now Professor of Medicine and Genome Sciences and Director of the University of Washington Genome Center. In 1994, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. In 2000, he received the City of Medicine Award for exceptional contributions to medicine in the public interest, and in 2002, he received the Gairdner Foundation International Award for his scientific contributions to the Human Genome Project. Dr. Olson has also participated extensively in the formulation of policy for the Human Genome Project: in 1987, he served on the National Research Council Committee on Mapping and Sequencing of the Human Genome; from 1989-92, on the Program Advisory Committee on the Human Genome at the National Institutes of Health; from 1999-2003, and on the National Human Genome Research Institute Council. Dr. Olson's current research is focused on the analysis of natural genetic variation both in bacteria, particularly Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and humans.
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