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Renowned scientist to give plenary talk at Pittcon

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Organisers of the Pittsburgh Conference (Pittcon), which will take place on 2-6 March 2008 in New Orleans, have announced that renowned scientist Dr Leroy Hood will deliver the plenary lecture, ‘Systems biology and systems medicine’, during the opening session.

The day will begin with a presentation of the Pittcon Heritage Award to Michael W. Hunkapiller, former president of Applied Biosystems, followed by the plenary lecture, and will conclude with a poster session.

Dr Hunkapiller was a pioneer in protein sequenators, DNA analysis, synthesisers, and other gene measuring instruments while doing research at Cal Tech where he worked with Leroy Hood in the early 1980s. He joined Applied Biosystems in 1983. His work has been key in making gene analysis and in genomics programs popular laboratory techniques.

In his talk, Dr Hood, the president of the Institute for Systems Biology, will examine the concept of digitalising medicine, and the effect this will have on health care. During his illustrious career, Dr Hood has focused his research on bringing engineering to biology through the development of five instruments, including DNA and protein sequencers and synthesisers and DNA arrays - for deciphering the various types of biological information.

Among his many accomplishments and affiliations, Dr Hood was elected to the Inventors Hall of Fame (for the automated DNA sequencer), has received 14 honorary degrees, and has published more than 600 peer-reviewed papers.