Professor Jeffery Gordon was born in the U.S. in 1947. He received his BA in Biology (Magna cum Lauda) Oberlin College in Ohio in 1969. Over the next four years, he received his medical training at the University of Chicago and obtained MD with honors in 1973. He served for two years as an intern and junior assistant resident in Medicine at Barnes Hospital, St Louis, MO. In 1975, he became a Research Associate at the Laboratory of Biochemistry at the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health. In 1978, he returned to Barnes Hospital as Senior Assistant Resident then Chief Medical Resident at Washington University Medical Service. In 1981 he completed a fellowship in medicine (Gastroenterology) at Washington University School of Medicine and rose quickly through academic ranks at Washington University in St. Louis, from Assistant Professor of Medicine in 1981 to full professor of Medicine and of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics in 1987. In 1991, he became Alumni Endowed Professor and Head of the Department of Molecular Biology and Pharmacology (1991-2004) and became the Dr. Robert J. Glaser Distinguished University Professor in 2002 and Director of the Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology, since 2004, at Washington University, St. Louis.
Professor Gordon is a pioneer of interdisciplinary studies of the human microbiome, especially the intestines, and is one of the founders of a new research area which analyzes the influence of the intestinal micobiota on post-natal development, physiology and susceptibility to illness. He investigates the metabolic processes and their genetic basics of mutually beneficial relationships between host and microorganisms in the human gut. He developed new experimental and theoretical approaches to investigate the composition and dynamics of the human gut microbes with the aim of better understanding the pathogenesis of complex diseases and developing novel microbiome-directed therapeutics to improve health.
Professor Gordon has authored or co-authored more than 440 publications, including several milestone papers in his field of specialization. His outstanding contributions have gained him wide recognition by scientific and medical communities. He is an elected member of the US National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His honors also include an honorary Doctorate Degree from the University of Gothenberg as well as numerous other awards including, among other prizes, the Janssen/AGA Sustained Achievement Award in Digestive Sciences, the Selman A. Waksman Award in Microbiology, the Robert Koch Prize and the Passano Award.
He was awarded the King Faisal International Prize in Medicine in recognition of his seminal work on defining the microbiomes genomic and metabolic role in human health. Professor Gordon’s pioneering work and interdisciplinary studies of the human microbiome has provided fascinating insights into the metabolic processes and the genetic basis of mutually beneficial relationships between the host and microorganisms in the human gut. His innovative research has provided major breakthroughs into the influence of intestinal microbiota on postnatal development, physiology and illness susceptibility in humans and has thus enhanced our understanding of the pathogenesis of complex diseases such as obesity. His research has opened opportunities for novel gut microbiome directed treatments to improve human health.