Getting Scientific About Wellness

Introducing Leroy Hood

There is no healthcare without access. Healthcare without value is profligate. Healthcare without wellness is self-defeating and soul-destroying. By contrast, healthcare that promotes health and prevents disease is self-sustaining, regenerative and cost-effective. Wellness ennobles, enriches and extends life. Enhancing wellness should be healthcare’s primary mission.

It is an honor and privilege to introduce 4sight Health’s contributor, Dr. Leroy Hood. Lee is a giant in fields of medicine, science and engineering. He is on “a quest to give mind and body wellness the scientific rigor and urgency it deserves.”

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Articles by Leroy Hood

on the 4sight Health Platform

The Science of Wellness

As a scientist who has worked at the leading edge of medicine, engineering and genetics for decades, I’m on a quest to give mind and body wellness the scientific rigor and urgency it deserves. No doctor, policy or breakthrough drug is as effective as “wellness” at minimizing disease and enhancing the length and quality of life.

Wellness is the absence of disease in the body, and the most powerful force in human health. While “preventative medicine” seeks earlier detection of already established disease, scientific wellness gives medical providers a new way of treating patients based on a data-informed understanding of their personal health.


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Long-Haul COVID: Real, Complex and Challenging

Shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, doctors began seeing puzzling symptoms in patients that lasted well beyond the initial infection period. These COVID long-haulers suffered from distressing or debilitating problems months after supposedly recovering from the disease.

Understanding and managing this complex disease requires new approaches, built on data and genetic analysis. This kind of comprehensive immune analyses at the individual patient level may help answer fundamental questions, such as what are the mechanisms of COVID disease, both acute and long haul? What kinds of new medicines or therapies are needed? Is it possible to predict who is susceptible and provide treatment before severe symptoms develop?

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Alzheimer’s Disease:

My Personal Journey and Search for a Cure

My personal journey with Alzheimer’s began in 2005 when my wife, Valerie, received her diagnosis with this terrible disease, one that robs the afflicted of their minds and forces family and friends to watch with dread as their loved one slowly disappears.

The lack of progress in developing an effective drug, or a combination of drugs, that will treat the disease once it arises suggests that we’ve been looking at this problem in the wrong way. Instead, effective therapies may require systemic approaches based on the principles of science-driven wellness. In my own search for answers, I learned that some important discoveries are being made.

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How Science Education Can Stave Off Demagogues

When we teach science, technology, engineering and mathematics to young students — and embrace innovative new approaches to the teaching of these subjects — we are investing in the long-term well-being of our economy, national security and health. But more than that, science education is a bulwark against the sort of rank populism that sets people against one another.

It unites us with a common strategy for identifying facts and a common basis for communicating about perceived problems and potential solutions. This does not mean we will not disagree — scientific debate can be a brutal thing — but it makes meaningful debate possible.

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Leroy Hood, MD, PhD

Scientist and Co-founder of the Institute for Systems Biology (ISB)

Leroy Hood, a world-renowned scientist and recipient of the National Medal of Science in 2011, Dr. Leroy Hood co-founded the Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) in 2000 and served as its first President from 2000-2017. In 2016, ISB affiliated with Providence St. Joseph Health (PSJH) and Dr. Hood became PSJH’s Senior Vice President and Chief Science Officer. He is also Chief Strategy Officer and Professor at ISB.

He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Medicine. Of the more than 6,000 scientists worldwide who belong to one or more of these academies, Dr. Hood is one of only 20 people elected to all three.

He received his MD from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and his PhD in biochemistry from Caltech. Dr. Hood was a faculty member at Caltech from 1967-1992, serving for 10 years as the Chair of Biology. During this period, he and his colleagues developed four sequencer and synthesizer instruments that paved the way for the Human Genome Project’s successful mapping and understanding of the human genome. He and his students also deciphered many of the complex mechanisms of antibody diversification. In 1992, Dr. Hood founded and chaired the Department of Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Washington, the first academic department devoted to cross-disciplinary biology.

Dr. Hood is currently carrying out studies in Alzheimer’s Disease, cancer, and wellness. He is pioneering a 1 million patient genome/phenome project for Providence St. Joseph Health and is bringing scientific (quantitative) wellness to the contemporary U.S. health care system.

Dr. Hood has played a role in founding 15 biotechnology companies including Amgen, Applied Biosystems, Arivale, and Nanostring. He has co-authored textbooks in biochemistry, immunology, molecular biology, genetics, and systems biology.

In addition to having received 18 honorary degrees from prestigious universities in the U.S. and abroad, Dr. Hood has published more than 850 peer-reviewed articles and currently holds 36 patents.

Dr. Hood is the recipient of numerous national and international awards, including the Lasker Award for Studies of Immune Diversity (1987), the Kyoto Prize in advanced technology (2002), the Heinz Award for pioneering work in Systems Biology (2006), the National Academy of Engineering Fritz J. and Delores H. Russ Prize for developing automated DNA sequencing (2011), and the National Academy of Science Award for Chemistry in Service to Society (2017).

Learn More about the Institute for Systems Biology

Systems biology has been responsible for some of the most important developments in the science of human health and environmental sustainability. It is a holistic approach to deciphering the complexity of biological systems that starts from the understanding that the networks that form the whole of living organisms are more than the sum of their parts. It is collaborative, integrating many scientific disciplines – biology, computer science, engineering, bioinformatics, physics and others – to predict how these systems change over time and under varying conditions, and to develop solutions to the world’s most pressing health and environmental issues.

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