Narla named acting head of LBL's Human Genome Center

January 21, 1994

By Jeffery Kahn (

The Laboratory has named Mohandas Narla acting head of its Human Genome Center, replacing Jasper Rine as of January 14.

Narla, an engineer turned molecular biologist, has headed the Life Sciences Division's Cell and Molecular Biology Department since 1992. He is also a professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine at UC San Francisco. Rine, a professor of genetics at UC Berkeley, will continue to pursue his research interests. During his two-and-a-half-year tenure as head of LBL's Human Genome Center, major progress has been reported across a number of fronts.

Automated laboratory equipment has been developed that increases both the speed and accuracy with which the genome can be mapped and sequenced. Robots -- teamed with computers -- are closing in on the goal of sequencing DNA at the rate of 1.2 megabases per year.

Under Rine, the effort to develop databases to deal with the massive amount of information being generated by the genome project also has come to maturity. New systems allow scientists to use computer networks to manage, share, and manipulate the collective body of data being generated worldwide.

Life Sciences Division Director Mina Bissell said that in the future, the Center hopes to further strengthen its ties to the biology department on the neighboring UCB campus.

"Jasper Rine has done a remarkable job of bringing together the various aspects of the center's efforts," Bissell said. "We hope he will continue to pursue aspects of this research at LBL. In addition, we look forward to expanding our efforts in developing sequencing capabilities, both for the human genome and possibly for drosophila, in collaboration with UCB."