It's rare to meet a true visionary, someone who sees where the world can go before anyone else sees it. And it's even rarer to meet someone who not only recognizes the opportunity, but also has the conviction and energy to make it a reality. For me, the person who most exemplifies these characteristics is Dr. Aviv Regev, who leads Genentech's Research and Early Development (gRED) team.
Aviv and I worked together at the Broad for almost eight years. I still remember reading her lab's first paper about single cell genomics, and being blown away by the sheer technical achievement. Aviv has always had a strong sense of how far the science could go, and has built an international community of like-minded individuals who are inspired by her vision for the Human Cell Atlas.
This community of fellow travellers includes scientists at all levels, from very senior professors to trainees. Aviv knows that doing great science depends in part on fostering a group of people who are collaborative rather than competitive. Being a member of this community has been one of the real joys in my professional life, and it's incredibly exciting to think about where the work might take all of us.
Human genetics has had a transformative impact on drug development. Just as it was a great joy for me to watch as David Altschuler took the academic practice of human genetics and brought it into Vertex to make drugs, I'm excited to watch Aviv and her team build something remarkable at Genentech. Single cell genomics is at a similar place to where human genetics was ten years ago, and I can't imagine a better person than Aviv to lead us on this journey.