John founded Personalis, a leader in human genome interpretation, and was CEO of Solexa, which develops breakthrough technology in next-generation DNA sequencing. He earned a bachelor’s degree in nuclear science and engineering in 1978, a master’s in mechanical engineering in 1980, and an MBA in finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1988. He is one of four students responsible for the famous hack at the Harvard-Yale game, when a weather balloon marked “MIT” inflated at the 46-yard line. John and Judy have been married for 31 years and have traveled to 45 countries.
“We’ve made a series of unrestricted gifts to MIT. We’re 3,000 miles away and believe that MIT’s leadership knows better than we do how to spend the money, so we don’t want to be prescriptive. People at MIT are going to be successful developing renewable energy, advancing the medical field, or finding cures for cancer, but it’s going to be tough to do that if you can’t find a parking place. In addition to funding exciting headline projects, at some point MIT will need a new parking facility, somebody to fix the boiler, or perhaps uninteresting infrastructure elements; otherwise, people can’t take on the big ideas. Our sense is that in addition to exciting architecture, a new building also needs a foundation. We’re confident that if we fund that, MIT will build the great building. General support is a vote of confidence in MIT’s management. We know they know what they’re doing. They just need the funds to get on with doing it.”
The worst technology of 2021
Face filters, billionaires in space, and home-buying algorithms that overpay all made our annual list of technology gone wrong.
A horrifying new AI app swaps women into porn videos with a click
Deepfake researchers have long feared the day this would arrive.
Meet Altos Labs, Silicon Valley’s latest wild bet on living forever
Funders of a deep-pocketed new "rejuvenation" startup are said to include Jeff Bezos and Yuri Milner.
A gene-edited pig’s heart has been transplanted into a human for the first time
The procedure is a one-off, and highly experimental, but the technique could help reduce transplant waiting lists in the future.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.