During his research career, Olson developed experimental and computational methods used in the Human Genome Project. Examples include high-resolution physical mapping, sequence-tagged-site-content mapping, and yeast-artificial-chromosome cloning. He also carried out extensive studies of natural genetic variation. Olson participated in policy development, serving on the National Research Council Committee on Mapping and Sequencing of the Human Genome, the National Advisory Council of the National Human Genome Research Institute, and numerous other advisory groups, as well as testifying several times in support of the Human Genome Project before Congressional Committees. Olson served on the National Research Council Committee that issued the report “Toward Precision Medicine” in 2011. Olson has received several awards for his contributions to genome research, including the Genetics Society of America Medal in 1992, the City of Medicine Award in 2000, the Gairdner International Award in 2002, and the Gruber Genetics Prize in 2007; he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1994. Olson’s undergraduate education was in chemistry at the California Institute of Technology; his Ph.D. training, also in chemistry, was at Stanford University. After earlier appointments at Dartmouth College and Washington University, he moved to the University of Washington in 1992, retiring in 2008.

Research Interests

We conduct research on the development and application of improved methods for the analysis of complex DNA samples. This research involves activities in human genetics, general molecular genetics, and analytical biochemistry. I have a special interest in interdisciplinary research, particularly involving the interface between fields such as math, chemistry, physics, computer science, and engineering on the one hand and molecular genetics on the other

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Primary Section

Section 41: Medical Genetics, Hematology, and Oncology