Director and President,
The Molecular Sciences Institute
Berkeley, CA, USA
Senior Scholar of the Ellison Foundation for Medical Research.
As a graduate student, he showed that the E. coli lexA gene repressed genes involved in the response to radiation damage, cloned the gene, produced and purified its protein product using and in some cases extending the newly developed recombinant DNA methods, and studied binding of the repressor to its operators, showing that its differential binding affinity for these sites affected the timing of the response.
His recent work includes the development of biological technologies to map genetic networks and test functions of genes and alleles, and contributions to the generation of computational tools to help think further about this data. This research is likely to lead to changes in the way researchers test ideas about gene function and to new therapies. It may also lead to a broader understanding of the function of polymorphic alleles within the population.
In parallel to his academic work, Brent is a longtime (since 1984) advisor to the biotech and pharma industries.