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11/08/2001 08:00:00

Caltech biologist Barbara Woldnamed Beckman Institute director

Caltech biology professor Barbara Wold has been appointed director of the Beckman Institute, President David Baltimore announced today. She succeeds founding director Harry Gray, who will return to full-time professorial duties after 15 years at the institute's helm.

Wold, who specializes in embryonic development and regeneration in vertebrates, will lead the Beckman Institute in its continuing goal of building a research interface between chemistry and biology, Baltimore said.

"Professor Wold was chosen to be the second leader of this unique Caltech institution after careful consideration of the pool of candidates," Baltimore said. "We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Harry Gray, who over the past 15 years has provided his talents and energy in formulating and implementing the vision of the Beckman Institute and its exciting program of science and technology."

The Beckman Institute was opened in 1989 in a 160,000-square-foot building on the west end of campus. Made possible with an initial $50-million commitment and challenge from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation in 1986, the institute provides space for interdisciplinary work in endeavors such as advanced imaging, methods for synthesizing and sequencing genes and proteins, laser spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction, synthesis and characterization of novel organic and inorganic materials, and advanced mass spectroscopic methods for characterization of large biomolecules.

Wold has been a professor of biology at Caltech since 1981. She earned her bachelor's degree in 1973 from Arizona State, her doctorate from Caltech in molecular developmental biology, and did postdoctoral research at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Wold has been active in national and international science policy concerned with the Human Genome Project, advising the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Energy programs in genomics.

She is the author of some 60 papers in professional journals.