About Us

The mission of the Beckman Center is to promote discovery and innovation in the basic sciences, and to accelerate the introduction and application of new technologies in both basic science research and clinical medicine.


The breakthroughs that took place in genetic engineering, cell imaging, and genomics in the late 1970s and ‘80s had a profound impact on the field of medicine, introducing new technologies and opening up new avenues for research in genetics and molecular biology. 

Nobel Laureate Paul Berg Establishes the Center

Recognizing the impact this new body of knowledge would have in improving the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of disease, Nobel Laureate Paul Berg sought to establish a center at Stanford University that would integrate the basic, clinical, and applied sciences so that the rapid advancements taking place in the fields of molecular biology and genetics might become more readily available to clinical scientists, and thus hasten the translation of scientific discovery into new medical technologies and clinical applications. With the inauguration of the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center for Molecular and Genetic Medicine in 1989, Dr. Berg’s vision became reality and Stanford ushered in a new era of rapid advancement in the field of molecular and genetic medicine.

Current Leadership

Under the leadership of its current director, Lucy Shapiro, the Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor of Cancer Research in the Department of Developmental Biology, the Beckman Center continues to be at the vanguard of basic science and technological discovery. The Beckman Center, housing three academic departments and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, has a world-class faculty of research scientists that includes four Nobel laureates, twenty-four members of the National Academy of Sciences, and eighteen Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators. 

A Model of Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Serving as a model of interdisciplinary collaboration at Stanford University, the Beckman Center has given rise to such forward-thinking approaches as the Bio-X program and the Department of Bioengineering, a novel joint department that spans the Schools of Medicine and Engineering. The Beckman Center plays a central role in the School of Medicine’s strategic plan to integrate the basic, applied, and clinical sciences at all levels of education and research. With the completion of the Human Genome Project and the advent of novel imaging technologies, the Beckman Center continues to influence scientific research through its support of key alliances and innovative programs.