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Edison T. Liu

The Power List 2017 – Champions of Change

Edison T. Liu

President and Chief Executive Officer, The Jackson Laboratory


“I am focused on understanding genetic complexity. It is clear that, with some exceptions, every gene mutation can be modulated by other genetic variations or epigenetic imprints, and that for every phenotype, multiple genes are involved in either the induction or the maintenance of that phenotype. Thus, measuring, understanding, and harnessing complexity is the key genetic challenge of this decade.”

Pivotal moment

“There are perhaps two: the first was when I decided to go into a basic science laboratory after my clinical training (in 1982) just to “see what it was like.” Working in the lab of J. Michael Bishop at UCSF opened my eyes to powerful experimental systems in the then new field of molecular oncology. The second was my time in Singapore as the Executive Director of the Genome Institute of Singapore, where I learned how fundamental sciences can be the foundation for the economic development of a country.”


“No one change will be sufficient for optimization, but I would point to several challenges and potential solutions. First, regulatory reform: focusing on safety rather than differential efficacy but maintaining truth in advertising is key. Second, health finance reform: this is where I think our system of health finance is indeed broken. Third, better integration of drugs with the entire medical system. Finally, "biotechnology of everything” – a play on the “internet of everything.” This means surrounding patients with sensors that can monitor complete health status and provide feedback to the individual and the health care system to iteratively optimize care delivery.”

Part of the Power List 2017

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