About the Director

Hunt Willard, MBL Director

Hunt Willard, MBL Director

Huntington F. Willard assumed the role of President and Director of The Marine Biological Laboratory in January 2015. Founded in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, in 1888, the MBL is a private, nonprofit institution dedicated to scientific discovery and improving the human condition through research and education in biology, biomedicine, and environmental science. MBL is an affiliate of the University of Chicago, where Dr. Willard holds a faculty appointment as Professor of Human Genetics.

A native of Boston, Dr. Willard is a respected leader in the fields of genetics and genome biology, known for his research accomplishments, academic leadership and passion for integrating research and education at all levels. A graduate of Harvard College, he received his Ph.D. from Yale University in human genetics and carried out postdoctoral training at Johns Hopkins Medical Center. Prior to coming to MBL, he served as the founding Director of the university-wide Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy from 2003 to 2014 and as the Nanaline H. Duke Professor of Genome Sciences and the Arts & Sciences Professor of Biology & Genome Sciences at Duke University. Before that, he was on the faculty at the University of Toronto, Stanford University, and Case Western Reserve University. He was Chairman of the Department of Genetics at Case Western Reserve University from 1992 to 2001 and founding Director and President of the Research Institute at University Hospitals of Cleveland from 1999 to 2003.

Huntington F. WillardOver the past 30 years, Dr. Willard has served in numerous leadership positions, both nationally and internationally, and has substantial experience as an advisor for research foundations, health systems, and government agencies as well as biotechnology and genomics companies. He has served on the editorial boards of numerous scientific journals, most notably as co-founder and Executive Editor of Human Molecular Genetics for 14 years. Dr. Willard is the author or co-author of over 300 scientific publications. He is co-author of Genetics in Medicine, a widely used textbook in its eighth edition. In addition, he is an author of numerous editorial and opinion pieces for the general public on the topics of biomedical research, education, genetics and the impact of science and research on society.

Dr. Willard is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences (2013), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2008), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2005). He was awarded the 2009 William Allan Award by the American Society of Human Genetics for scientific contributions to the field of human genetics and a 2011 Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal from the Yale Graduate School for achievements in scholarship, teaching and public service. A passionate and innovative educator scientist, he has received teaching awards from students at Case Western Reserve University and Duke University and was appointed an HHMI Professor in 2006 by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

His scholarly interests include genetics and epigenetics; genome and chromosome biology; and the genome sciences and their broad implications for biology, medicine and society. A human geneticist by training, his research career has used the human as just one of many model organisms to explore the genetics, genomics, and epigenetics of complex species and their genomes. Now at the MBL, he contributes to the development of ‘new’ non-traditional model organisms, taking advantage of the wealth of species, genomes, and phenotypes to be found among marine organisms.

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Liana Coviello, Executive Assistant, Email Liana Coviello, 508-289-7300