Skip navigation
Have a gift or promo code? Get started
Skip content
Get a free audiobook on Independent Bookstore Day! Learn more

$29.95 USD

Get for $14.99 with membership
  Add to Wish List

Almost ready!

In order to save audiobooks to your Wish List you must be signed in to your account.

      Log in       Create account


Trailblazer of the Genomics Age

Lee Hood did that rarest of things. He enabled scientists to see things they couldn’t see before and do things they hadn’t dreamed of doing. Scientists can now sequence complete human genomes in a day, setting in motion a revolution that is personalizing medicine.


Hood, a son of the American West, was an unlikely candidate to transform biology. But with ferocious drive, he led a team at Caltech that developed the automated DNA sequencer, the tool that paved the way for the Human Genome Project. He captivated scientists with his almost religious fervor for the new biology enabled by the machines.

Hood’s brilliance, rebellion, enthusiasm, and ego earned him detractors as well as admirers. His management style, once described as “creative anarchy,” alienated many. Some of his collaborators seethed, claiming he took too much credit. Fellow Caltech biologists charged that his empire building was out of control and ousted him as their chairman. A fraud in his lab made him consider, for a moment, quitting science.

Wooed by money from Bill Gates, Hood started over at the University of Washington, creating the world’s first Department of Molecular Biotechnology. Seven years later, his impatience for rules drove him to depart. He left at age sixty-one to start his own Institute for Systems Biology. Would he finally achieve the ultimate application of the genome project—personalized medicine?

In Hood: Trailblazer of the Genomics Age, journalist Luke Timmerman zeroes in on a charismatic, controversial personality. Never-before-reported details are drawn from the scientist’s confidential files, public records, and more than 150 interviews with Hood and his family, friends, collaborators, and detractors. The result is not just a revealing portrait of one of the most influential biologists of our time, but a deeply human look at science itself.

Audiobook gift memberships

Gift audiobooks to anyone in the world (including yourself!) from the comfort of your home. You choose the membership (1, 3, 6, or 12 months/credits), your gift recipient picks their own audiobooks, and your local bookstore is supported by your purchase.

Start gifting App with bow


“A terrific portrait, not just of Hood but science itself, both of them human, flawed, complicated and ultimately triumphant.”

Deborah Blum, Pulitzer Prize-winning science journalist, author of The Poisoner's Handbook

“Excellent...a window into the birth of personalized medicine. Read it!”

Siddhartha Mukherjee, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies and The Gene


About the author

Luke Timmerman is the author of Hood: Trailblazer of the Genomics Age, a biography of automated DNA sequencing pioneer Leroy Hood. Timmerman is the founder and editor of Timmerman Report, a biotech industry newsletter. Timmerman has a bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Wisconsin, and was awarded a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at MIT. In 2015, Scientific American named him one of the 100 most influential people in biotech.

In his spare time, Timmerman enjoys running, mountaineering, fantasy baseball, and watching the Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers. He lives in Seattle with his wife and daughter.


“A masterful guide to one of the most important scientists of the 20th century.”

Kevin Davies, Genome magazine

“A must-read popular science book”


“An engrossing look at the man, his times, the technology he brought into being, and the implications for humanity.”

San Diego Union-Tribune

“A thorough biography [that] never shies away from the contradictions of this forceful personality. ... Hood deserves to be a household name.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Audiobook details

Get a free audiobook on Independent Bookstore Day! Learn more