Richard K. Wilson, PhD, is the founding Executive Director of the Institute for Genomic Medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Steve and Cindy Rasmussen Endowed Chair in Genomic Medicine, and Professor of Pediatrics at the Ohio State University College of Medicine. He received his A.B. degree from Miami University in Ohio (Microbiology, 1981), his Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma (Chemistry and Biochemistry, 1986), and was a Research Fellow in the Division of Biology at the California Institute of Technology. In 1990, Dr. Wilson joined the faculty of Washington University School of Medicine where he cofounded the Genome Sequencing Center/McDonnell Genome Institute. At Washington University, Dr. Wilson was the Alan A. and Edith L. Wolff Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Professor of Genetics, Professor of Molecular Microbiology, and a member of the Senior Leadership Committee of the Siteman Cancer Center.
Dr. Wilson is an expert in molecular genetics and large-scale genomics, and his laboratories have been among the world’s leaders in genome analysis. His teams have sequenced and analyzed billions of bases of DNA from the genomes of bacteria, yeast, plants, invertebrates, vertebrates, primates and humans. Dr. Wilson and his colleagues at Washington University sequenced the first animal genome – that of the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans – and contributed substantially to the sequencing and analysis of the human genome. They also sequenced the genomes of the mouse, chimpanzee, orangutan, gorilla, rhesus macaque, platypus, the plants Arabidopsis thaliana and Zea mays (corn), as well as various invertebrates, insect vectors and microorganisms. His team was the first to sequence the genome of a cancer patient and discover genetic signatures relevant to the pathogenesis of the disease. Building upon these achievements, the mission of Dr. Wilson’s institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is to utilize cutting-edge genome sequencing and analysis technology to discover clues that will lead to more effective diagnosis and treatment of cancer and other human diseases in children and adults.
In 2008, Dr. Wilson was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He also has received Distinguished Alumni awards from both of his alma maters.