March 15, 2004

Markowitz Tapped for Joint Genome Institute Chief Informatics Officer

WALNUT CREEK, CA - The U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (JGI) today (March 15) announced that Victor M. Markowitz, D.Sc., has been appointed to the newly created position of Chief Informatics Officer.

Markowitz returns to the national laboratory environment where he spent a decade developing genomic software tools before a six-year stint in industry.

"Among the challenges that Victor will address is the development of more efficient systems for managing the tremendous flow of data from the sequencing effort at the JGI," said Eddy Rubin, Director of the JGI, to whom Markowitz will report. Having recently surpassed two billion bases of sequence information generated per month -- spanning mammals, plants and microbes -- the JGI is among the world’s leading producers of genomic data.

"Victor's first project with JGI is to capture the sequence extracted from natural environments into a system that will enable not only microbiologists, but geologists, chemists, environmental scientists, and others to mine this data. This effort should provide insights into the role that these microbes play in the health and well-being of the biosphere," Rubin said.

Markowitz also serves as the head of the recently established Biological Data Management and Technology Center (BDMTC), within the Computational Research Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).

"The key to tapping into the rich data generated by the human genome project and other sequencing efforts is informatics, and the research community is indeed fortunate to have someone of Victor Markowitz' knowledge and stature in the position of Chief Informatics Officer for the Joint Genome Institute," said Horst Simon, director of the Lab's Computational Research Division. "Victor's experience as a member the research community, coupled with his knowledge of private sector practices, makes him the logical choice for this position."

Prior to joining JGI, Markowitz served as Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice President, Data Management Systems, at Gene Logic Inc. Markowitz was responsible for building Gene Logic's data management, software development, applied bioinformatics, and IT organization, located in Berkeley and Gaithersburg, Maryland. He directed the development of Gene Logic's data management products, including its flagship Genesis data management platform for gene expression data used by pharmaceutical and biotech companies worldwide. Before joining Gene Logic, Markowitz spent 10 years at Berkeley Lab, where he led the development of the Object Protocol Model (OPM) data management and integration tools used for developing public and commercial genome databases. Markowitz received his master's and doctoral degrees in computer science from Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology.

The Joint Genome Institute, located in Walnut Creek, CA, was established in 1997 by three of the DOE national laboratories managed by the University of California: Lawrence Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories in California and Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. JGI has whole genome sequencing programs that include vertebrates, microbes, and plants. Funding for the JGI is predominantly from the Office of Biological and Environmental Research in DOE’s Office of Science. Additional information about the JGI is available at:

Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is a national security laboratory, with a mission to ensure national security and apply science and technology to the important issues of our time. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.