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Jeffrey I. Gordon, MD

Jeffrey I. Gordon, MD, HS ’81, is the Dr. Robert J. Glaser Distinguished University Professor and Director of the Center for Genome Sciences & Systems Biology.

Gordon’s pioneering research on the genomic and metabolic foundations of the mutually beneficial relationships between humans and their gut microbes has been instrumental in shaping a new and exciting field, metagenomics, and launching human microbiome projects throughout the world. His group has developed and applied innovative experimental and computational approaches to characterize the assembly, dynamic operations, and intergenerational transmission of our human gut microbial communities. His work with gnotobiotic mice, as well as humans living in industrialized and developing countries, has provided an encompassing view of ourselves as a composite of species representing all three domains of life (Bacteria, Archaea, Eukarya) and their viruses; it has also emphasized that variations in our microbial ecology arising as a consequence of our rapidly changing lifestyles is impacting our human physiology. His studies of the gut micro- biomes of healthy, obese, as well as malnourished twins at various stages of life have focused on a key issue related to global health — developing new ways to improve our nutritional status.

Gordon earned a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and a medical degree from the University of Chicago and completed postdoctoral research at the National Institutes of Health. He has been on the Washington University faculty since 1981 where he has mentored over 100 PhD and MD/PhD students, and postdoctoral fellows. He was head of the Department of Molecular Biology and Pharmacology from 1991 to 2004 before resigning to become director of the Center for Genome Sciences & Systems Biology — the first interdisciplinary, interdepartmental center established under the auspices of the university’s BioMed21 initiative. From 1994 to 2003, he also served as director of the university’s Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences, which oversees all PhD and MD/PhD students in the biological sciences.

His many honors include election to the National Academy of Sciences and its Institute of Medicine, and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2000, he was chosen to be the first recipient of an annual outstanding Faculty Mentor Award established by the Graduate Student Council at Washington University. He has published more than 400 papers and holds 23 U.S. patents.

The Washington University Medical Center Alumni Association is pleased to present its Resident/Fellow Achievement Award to Dr. Gordon.

Published: 05/02/2011