James F. Gusella, Ph.D., made this presentation at the sixth World Congress on Huntington's Disease, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, September 17, 2013. Dr. Gusella is the Bullard Professor of Neurogenetics, Harvard Medical School, and director, Center for Human Genetic Research, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Dr. Gusella was born and raised in Ottawa, Canada, and graduated summa cum laude in 1974 from the University of Ottawa with a B.Sc. in Honors Biology. He continued his education at the University of Toronto, where he earned a M.Sc. degree in Medical Biophysics in 1976 and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received his Ph.D. in Biology in 1980. Foregoing the usual period of postdoctoral training, he moved directly to establishing his own independent laboratory at the Massachusetts General Hospital, in affiliation with Harvard Medical School. He pioneered the use of DNA sequence polymorphisms as genetic markers, demonstrating the feasibility of this new approach by mapping the Huntington’s disease gene to chromosome 4. This discovery set off a torrent of similar studies aimed at identifying genes by their chromosomal position and provided a major impetus for the development of the Human Genome Project. In 1993, he was a member of the HD Collaborative Group whose work culminated in the identification of the HD mutation. For the past two decades, he has investigated the molecular mechanisms underlying HD using genetic strategies. In 2003, he became director of the newly formed MGH Center for Human Genetic Research (CHGR) a multidisciplinary, cross-departmental research center whose central mission is to promulgate the “genetic research cycle” in all areas of medicine. The CHGR emphasizes intra- and inter-institutional collaboration to form interactive teams that include both clinical and basic researchers who target their efforts in particular disease areas, including neurology, psychiatry, development and metabolism. Dr. Gusella is also director of the Harvard Medical School Center for Neurofibromatosis and Allied Disorders. His work on HD has been recognized with a number of awards, including the Charles A. Dana Award for Pioneering Achievement in Health, the National Health Council Award for Medical Research, the King Faisal International Prize in Medicine, and the J. Allyn Taylor International Prize in Medicine.