Tom Maniatis Appointed Director of University-wide Precision Medicine Initiative

October 30, 2014

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Tom Maniatis, the Isidore S. Edelman Professor of Biochemistry and Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at Columbia University Medical Center, as director of our University-wide precision medicine initiative.

Tom’s appointment is a crucial step in our initiative that positions the University to be at the forefront of genomics, data science, and the core science and engineering disciplines essential to this emerging field of truly humanistic medicine.  The potential for progress in this broad subject goes beyond new cures for disease and the practice of medicine.  It encompasses virtually every part of the University, including areas that explore fundamental issues of human self-knowledge and the legal, policy, and economic implications of revolutionary changes in our understanding of human biology.  As we are doing in other interdisciplinary fields, an extraordinary team of scholars is being assembled who, together, can make Columbia a truly global center of research, teaching, and clinical practice.

Tom is a cofounder of the New York Genome Center, of which Columbia is a partner, and he is one of the pioneers of modern molecular biology, having led the development of recombinant DNA methods and their application to both basic biomedical research and biotechnology.  He coauthored the definitive laboratory manual on genetic engineering published by the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory that set a standard for international dissemination of recombinant DNA methods.  His past research has led to major advances in understanding the mechanisms of gene expression at the level of RNA transcription and splicing.  Tom currently focuses on the role of single cell diversity in neural connectivity, as well as on the molecular mechanisms that underlie the neurodegenerative disease ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).

After receiving his BA and MS from the University of Colorado at Boulder and his PhD in molecular biology from Vanderbilt University, Tom did his postdoctoral studies at Harvard and the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England.  He has held faculty appointments at Harvard, the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and Caltech.  He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine and the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including the 2012 Lasker~Koshland Special Achievement Award in Medical Science.

Tom brings extraordinary expertise to this initiative and we will no doubt benefit from his oversight and leadership.  Please join us in congratulating Tom Maniatis and welcoming him to this important new role for the University.


Lee C. Bollinger, President and Seth Low Professor of the University

John H. Coatsworth, Provost and Professor of International and Public Affairs and of History

Lee Goldman, Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences and Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine