Department of Genetics History

The Genetics Department is founded. Its founder, Herschel Roman, is to be its Chair until 1980. For an excellent account of the origins of the Department, click here.

The NIH Genetics Training Grant administered by the Department starts. It continues to be the main source of support for Department graduate students.

The department moves into a new building, the J wing of Health Sciences Building (often, but unofficially, called the "Biochemistry-Genetics Building"). The building is built with funds from the National Institutes of Health, and also houses the Department of Biochemistry.

1964 Health Sciences complex photo

1964 Health Sciences J-Wing photo

First microcomputer in the department, a Processor Technology SOL-20 in the Felsenstein lab.
The Herschel Roman Symposium celebrates Herschel's founding of the department, tenure as department chair, and scientific accomplishments.
[our faculty in 1980]

This is our faculty, photographed at that time. Click here for a larger version (100K).

Ben Hall becomes chair of the department.

The sixth floor lounge of the J wing is obliterated and replaced by a much less interesting floor which contains the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Walt Fangman becomes chair of the department.
Its 100th Ph.D. degree is awarded by the Department, to Dr. Bruce Edgar.
[our faculty in 1990]

Our faculty in 1990: Click here for a larger version (92K).

Breck Byers becomes chair of the department.

The department's first server,, a Sun SPARCstation 1+, begins operation.

Dave Stadler gives a Department seminar on "Herschel Roman and 50 Years of Genetics at the University of Washington". Click here to read what he said.
[the K wing]

The K Wing building is constructed, connecting to our building. It contains many biomedical labs, including the Departments of Medical Genetics and Molecular Biotechnology. University literature emphasizes the beautiful view of Portage Bay available from the K wing; they neglect to mention that this view used to be seen from our building.
A speaker at our weekly seminar, Stanley Prusiner, has to cancel at the last minute because he has just been awarded the Nobel Prize.
(More to be added soon)
Page written by Joe Felsenstein