George Poste, director of the Biodesign Institute at ASU, was named 2004 Scientist of the Year by R&D magazine, which honors a scientist annually for his or her career accomplishments. Poste’s career spans 38 years to date and includes such diverse scholarly and policymaking roles as molecular biologist, pharmaceutical developer, and bioterrorism adviser.
In addition to recognizing his credentials as a scholar, policymaker, and researcher, R&D‘s bestowal of the award also honors Poste for his work at the helm of the Biodesign Institute, said Editor in Chief Tim Studt. Past recipients of the research and development trade magazine’s highest honor include J. Craig Venter, who led his private company in decoding the human genome, and Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web.
Poste said that the institute, where he began in the spring of 2003, is unique in its approach to research, which integrates biology, engineering, and information technology. “The Biodesign Institute at ASU is an incredible vehicle for positively impacting the future,” he said.
Before arriving at ASU, where Poste is also the current Del E. Webb Distinguished Professor of Biology, Poste was chairman of the task force on bioterrorism for the U.S. Department of Defense. His breadth of knowledge on diverse health and science issues makes him an oft-tapped resource among national and international government agencies and industry leaders, including NATO and the U.S Department of Defense. He currently serves on the Defense Science Board and the Defense Department’s Threat Reduction Advisory Committee, as well as holding a seat in the National Academy of Sciences Working Group on Biological Weapons and the Forum on Microbial Threats.
Poste moved from his native England to the U.S. in 1974 to conduct cancer research at the Roswell Park Memorial Institute at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He holds a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Bristol and remains a Fellow of the Royal Society and a Fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge. He also holds also holds doctorates in virology and science, as well as honorary degrees in law and science from U.S. universities for his work in international health policy.
Beginning in 1980, Poste headed the research and development division for the pharmaceutical giant that is now GlaxoSmithKline. Under his watch, 31 drugs went to market, one of the impressive honor badges that drew R&D magazine’s attention when choosing a recipient for the award.
After leaving the drug company in 1999, Poste moved to Scottsdale and pursued his consultant firm, Health Technology Networks, which specializes in genomics and computing technologies. He also accepted board positions at Orchid Biosciences, Monsanto, and Exelixis.
In 2003, at the behest of ASU President Michael Crow, Poste emerged from this quasi-retirement to take the reins of the Biodesign Institute, which has seen rapid development and progress since Crow and Poste arrived at ASU in tandem with the Translational Genomics Research Institute’s move to the area.
“I am never bored,” Poste said of the curiosity that has driven his scientific career. “I am the quintessential kid in a candy shop when it comes to any facet of science or technology. Every single day I come across something that makes me say, ‘Wow.'”
For more information:
“One of ASU’s own is scientist of year,” Arizona Republic, 11/2/04