The Jackson Laboratory, a nonprofit biomedical research institution based in Bar Harbor, has named a new incoming president and CEO and said its current head is stepping down from his role – but not leaving the organization.

Lon Cardon, incoming president and CEO of The Jackson Laboratory  Photo courtesy of The Jackson Laboratory

Jackson Lab said Monday in a news release that Lon Cardon, a pioneer in human genetics and drug discovery, will succeed current leader Dr. Edison Liu in late November. However, it said Liu will continue his research work at the lab studying the functional genomics of cancer with a focus on breast cancer.

Jackson Lab breeds specialized mice for use in scientific research and is engaged in a variety of research projects related to cancer, tissue regeneration and other cutting-edge areas of biology and medicine.

“After ten years of steering (the lab) through impressive expansion, dramatic change and remarkable achievements, Ed (Liu) has made an indelible impact … as a leader, researcher, and oncologist in our local communities and within the global biomedical research field,” said David Roux, chairman of the lab’s board of trustees. “We are now thrilled to appoint Lon as the next president and CEO … Under his leadership, Lon will guide the Laboratory as it propels into its next intense period of growth.”

Cardon joined California drug company BioMarin Pharmaceutical in 2017 as chief scientific officer and senior vice president and was promoted in 2019 to chief scientific strategy officer.

Before joining BioMarin, he was a senior vice president at British pharmaceuticals firm GlaxoSmithKline, leading departments and divisions spanning genetics, molecular biology, computational biology, statistics and epidemiology.


Prior to Cardon’s 14-year tenure in the drug industry, he spent the first half of his career as a senior academic in the United Kingdom and United States, initially as professor of bioinformatics at the University of Oxford and then as professor of biostatistics at the University of Washington and co-chair of the Herbold Bioinformatics Program at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Cardon received his doctorate from the University of Colorado and conducted his postdoctoral research in the mathematics department at Stanford University. He has been awarded a Wellcome Trust Principal Fellowship and is an elected fellow of the U.K.’s Academy of Medical Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Cardon has authored more than 225 scientific publications and 15 books and chapters, mainly focused on genetics methodology, applications and discoveries for rare and common diseases, ranging from Huntington’s disease to dyslexia, according to Jackson Lab.

“For many years there has been immense promise to translate human genetics and genomics discoveries into new diagnostics, prognostics and treatments for both common and rare diseases,” Cardon said in the release. “Many of the foundational pieces are finally coming into place. The next step is to put them together to begin to realize this promise.”

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