Dr. Richard Gibbs, director of the Baylor College of Medicine Human Genome Sequencing Center and Wofford Cain Professor of molecular and human genetics at BCM has been elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine.

One of 65 American and five foreign associates named to the prestigious institute today and the only BCM faculty member, Gibbs is a national and international leader in sequencing efforts. He led the BCM efforts at finishing the human genome sequence and in the time since, has diversified the Center's efforts and focused on human genetics. The BCM Center now is part of efforts at sequencing cancer genomes, a variety of mammalian and model animal genomes, microbial genomes as part of the Human Microbiome Project, as well as personal genomes and human disease.

He led BCM efforts at sequencing the personal genome of Nobel Laureate Dr. James Watson as well as that of Dr. James Lupski, a BCM colleague. Lupski's sequence led to identification of the gene mutations that caused Charcot-Marie Tooth Syndrome in his family.

Gibbs has also been a leader in understanding the ethical and legal implications of sequencing individual genomes.

"Dr. Gibbs' leadership has not only propelled the BCM Genome Sequencing Center into a major role in such efforts around the world, it has also answered important questions about disease and evolution," said Dr. Paul E. Klotman, president and CEO of BCM. "He is a worthy candidate for membership in IOM. The College, as a whole, congratulates him on receiving this well deserved honor."

Gibbs received a B.Sc. (Hons) in 1979 and a Ph.D. in genetics and radiation biology in 1986 at the University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia. He moved to Houston as a postdoctoral fellow at Baylor to study the molecular basis of human-linked diseases and to develop technologies for rapid genetic analysis.

He joined the Baylor faculty in 1991 and established the BCM Human Genome Sequencing Center in 1996. In 2000, Gibbs was a recipient of the annual Michael E. DeBakey, M.D., Excellence in Research Awards.

Twelve other current BCM faculty members are IOM members