Maynard V. Olson BS, PhD

Recipient of the Canada Gairdner International Award, 2002
"For his original concepts, and for technological and experimental innovations that were critical for the sequencing of the mammalian genomes."

University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA


Dr. Maynard Olson was one of the first to recognize the potential of genome analysis and to develop experimental techniques for analysis of complex genomes. He developed the technologies of yeast-artificial-chromosome (YAC) cloning and sequence-tagged-site (STS) mapping that provided a direct path to the Human Genome Project. The YAC system has become routine for positional cloning of genes involved in human diseases and was the prototype for other large-fragment cloning systems that play a central role in genome analysis.

Dr. Olson graduated from the California Institute of Technology and earned a Ph.D. in chemistry at Stanford. His major interest changed to genetics during his faculty positions at Dartmouth College, the University of Washington, Seattle and Washington University, St. Louis, where he became a Professor of Genetics. In 1992 he returned to Seattle and is now Professor of Medicine (Division of Medical Genetics) and Professor of Genetics, as well as Adjunct Professor of Computer Science. He is also Chairman of the Genome Research Review Committee of the NIH Genome Research Institute. His many honors include the 1992 Genetics Society of America Medal.