Huntington Willard

Marine Biological Laboratory
President and Director

Marine Biological Laboratory
7 MBL Street
Woods Hole, MA 02543

Huntington Willard is the President and Director of the Marine Biological Laboratory.  Founded in 1888 in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, 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 Willard holds a faculty appointment as Professor of Human Genetics. Prior to his appointment at the 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.

Willard is a 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 and in addition to his positions at Duke University, he had held faculty positions 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.

Over the past 30 years, 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. He is the author or co-author of over 300 scientific publications. He is co-author of Genetics in Medicine, a widely used textbook, now entering its eighth edition, and co-editor of Genomic and Personalized Medicine, a reference text in its second 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. 

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. An innovative educator scientist, he has received teaching awards from students at Case Western Reserve University and Duke University and was appointed an HHMI Professor from 2006-2010 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. 

Related site: Marine Biological Laboratory