James D. Watson BS, PhD

Recipient of the Canada Gairdner International Award, 2002
"For his 50 years of unparalelled contributions to biology and medical science, and in particular for his critical international leadership during the creation of the Human Genome Project."

Cold Spring Habor Labratory, Cold Spring Harbour, New York, USA


Dr. James Watson has enjoyed international recognition since 1953, as the co-discoverer with Francis Crick of the double helical structure of DNA. For this feat he, Crick and Maurice Wilkins, were jointly awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize in Medicine. Today he is recognized as the major figure behind the Human Genome Project. He was the Director of the National Center for Genome Research from 1989 to 1992. In that role he recruited key scientists to the project, as well as professionals concerned with ethical, legal and social issues. His contributions of creativity, vision and intuition have been of immeasurable value to the Human Genome Project.

Dr. Watson graduated in zoology from the University of Chicago and earned a PhD at Indiana University. He was a postgraduate student at the University of Cambridge when the breakthrough in DNA research occurred. He has been a faculty member at Harvard since 1968 and has been a Director and later President at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, with a three-year hiatus at the National Center for Genome Research in Washington, during which the Human Genome Project was born. Among innumerable honors, he has recently been named an honorary Knight of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth.