TIME names David Baker among 100 Most Influential People in health

IPD director David Baker’s impact, innovation, and achievement has been recognized in the inaugural TIME100 Health list.

Read the full list at time.com/time100health

David Baker, PhD, is the director of the Institute for Protein Design, an HHMI Investigator, and a professor of biochemistry at the University of Washington School of Medicine. For decades, his lab has developed state-of-the-art protein design software and used it to create molecules that solve challenges in medicine, technology, and sustainability. Among his recent work is the development of powerful AI tools for generating functional proteins.

David’s achievements include publishing over 600 peer-reviewed papers, training over 80 professors, co-founding 21 biotechnology companies, and securing over 100 patents. A recipient of the Breakthrough Prize, his work was recognized in 2021 by the journal Science as the most significant across all domains of research.

TIME includes David Baker among its list of Health Pioneers, writing:

From TIME:

Much of Baker’s early research was aimed at understanding how proteins fold. But in the 1990s, after developing a software program, Rosetta, to help answer this question, Baker and his research team realized that they could, in essence, run the software backwards, and design a protein based on a desired shape. In recent years, Baker and researchers in his lab have designed proteins that act as biological “logic gates,” allowing scientists to program cellular functions, such as gene expression, just as they would a computer, and a protein-based antiviral nasal spray that targets COVID-19.

Baker has co-founded 17 companies and been granted over 100 patents. Rosetta has evolved into RosettaCommons, one of the most widely-used protein design software packages. For his research, Baker, now director of the Institute for Protein Design at the University of Washington, was awarded the 2021 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences.

Recently, Baker has been a leader in grappling with the societal implications of the technologies he has helped create. Rapid advances in artificial intelligence have sparked fears that AI systems could exacerbate risks of bioterrorism. In response, Baker shepherded an agreement this year, signed by more than 90 scientists in the field, that commits to promoting the responsible development and use of AI protein-design tools.

Read the full article by Will Henshall at Time.com

TIME’s inaugural Health Pioneers are:

Read the full 2024 TIME100 Health list at time.com/time100health

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