Marine Biological Laboratory Director Elected to National Academy of Medicine

huntington-f-willard-credit-tom-kleindinst_1_smWOODS HOLE, Mass.— Huntington F. Willard, Ph.D., president and director of the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) and professor of human genetics at the University of Chicago, has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine, the Academy announced today.

Election is considered one of the highest honors in the health and medical fields and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievements and commitment to service. New members are elected by their peers in the Academy.

Willard is a respected leader in the fields of genetics and genome biology. His research interests include genetics and epigenetics; genome and chromosome biology; and the genome sciences and their broad implications for biology, medicine, and society. 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.

“Hunt Willard has distinguished himself as a unique scholar of the human genome,” said National Academy of Medicine member Jonathan Gitlin, M.D., senior scientist and director, Division of Research at the MBL. “His discoveries have significantly advanced our understanding of the basic biology of gene expression in all organisms and have had a direct and important impact on human health. This is a much deserved honor for him and continues the long tradition of recognition of scientific excellence at the Laboratory.”

A graduate of Harvard College, Willard received his Ph.D. from Yale University in human genetics.  He was previously elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2013.  He came to MBL and joined the University of Chicago faculty in 2015. A biography of Dr. Willard is here.

Formerly known as the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Medicine is an honorific and advisory organization. Established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, it is recognized as a national resource for independent, scientifically informed analysis and recommendations on health issues.


The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) is dedicated to scientific discovery – exploring fundamental biology, understanding marine biodiversity and the environment, and informing the human condition through research and education. Founded in Woods Hole, Massachusetts in 1888, the MBL is a private, nonprofit institution and an affiliate of the University of Chicago.