Pedro León is a Costa Rican scientist born in Cuba from a Cuban father and a Costa Rican mother. He was raised in San José, Costa Rica, and did undergraduate training at Baylor University (Waco, Texas; 1962-1966), graduate training at the University of Costa Rica (1967-1970) and his doctorate at the University of Oregon (Eugene, 1970-1974), with Dr. Jim Kezer. Upon return to Costa Rica he was hired by the University of Costa Rica Medical School to teach physiology and genetics. His research at UofO dealt with giant lampbrush chromosomes of oogenesis, and the location of genes in meiotic chromosomes by in situ molecular hybridization with labelled RNA probes. Upon returning to Costa Rica, his research at the medical school involved mapping disease genes in human families, like inherited deafness, bipolar affective disorders and familiar dominant amyloidosis. Mapping of dominant familial deafness was done in collaboration with Mary-Claire King’s lab at the University of Washington in Seattle, and bipolar disorders in families, in collaboration with Nelson Freimer at UCLA and Victor Reus at the University of California in San Francisco. León was founding member and director of the Cell and Molecular Biology Research Center (CIBCM) at the UCR and the first director of CENAT, a center for advanced technologies of the public universities in Costa Rica, serving as mentor to over twenty graduate students during his career.

Research Interests

León has retired from teaching and research at age 70. He still reads on the topic of lampbrush chromosome function and about the diaphanous proteins, mutated in human deafness.

Membership Type

International Member

Election Year


Primary Section

Section 26: Genetics

Secondary Section

Section 41: Medical Genetics, Hematology, and Oncology