Skip to main content

Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology

Where Science Meets Society

Harris Lewin

The IGB is proud to honor Harris Lewin with its first named endowment. “The Harris A. Lewin Pioneer in Genomic Biology Distinguished Lecture” will recognize the lecture of a world-renowned scientist in the Pioneers in Genomic Biology lecture series. Through his foresight and determination, Dr. Lewin spearheaded the effort at the University of Illinois to create an interdisciplinary campus institute to advance life science research and stimulate economic growth.

For over seven years, he led the team of faculty, staff, and students who integrate progressive scientific ideas with innovative methods of conducting research. Taking the state’s initial $75 million investment, this team has already been awarded over $150 million in grants and contracts. Dr. Lewin’s collaborative efforts with academic departments helped secure twenty-six new faculty hires for the campus in just five years. Additionally, he developed the IGB Fellows Program, giving 29 recent PhDs the chance to do independent research before launching their formal careers, and many already are doing just that at some of the nation’s leading institutions. Dr. Lewin also provided advice, funding, and most importantly, lab space, to a multi-disciplinary undergraduate research team in synthetic biology, a team who competes internationally and has earned medals every year since 2008.

Dr. Lewin is widely known for his research in comparative mammalian genomics and immunogenetics. He was part of an international team that sequenced the cow genome in 2009. He established the immunology program in the Department of Animal Sciences to study genes associated with immune responses of cattle to infectious diseases, which led to the identification of genes conferring resistance to the bovine leukemia virus and to a patent on a method to detect animals that can pass resistance to the disease to their offspring. His research group pioneered technology for functional genomics in cattle, and he has made significant contributions to the understanding of mammalian chromosome evolution. Dr. Lewin is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is the 2011 recipient of the Wolf Prize in Agriculture. We at the IGB are confident he will continue to do wonderful things as the Vice Chancellor for Research at his alma mater, the University of California, Davis.

“The Harris A. Lewin Pioneer in Genomic Biology Distinguished Lecture” will play an important role in the academic and research life of the campus, and especially the IGB, allowing students and faculty to continue to interact with distinguished scientists from around the world. This endowment will help the IGB cover the expenses of bringing renowned speakers to campus. The endowment goal is $150,000 and more than $50,000 is pledged. To establish the endowment and to start earning income, $25,000 must be received, of which IGB has raised more than $10,000.

With your help, we will recognize Harris Lewin’s 26 years at the University of Illinois and his commitment to research, public engagement, and the collaborative spirit that embodies the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology.

Donate to The Harris A. Lewin Pioneer in Genomic Biology Distinguished Lecture.