J. Craig Venter
J. Craig Venter, PhD, is regarded as one of leading scientists of the 21st century for his invaluable contributions in genomic research and is one of the most frequently cited scientists. He is the founder of the J. Craig Venter Science Foundation, not-for-profit, research and support organization dedicated to human genomic research, to exploration of social and ethical issues in genomics, and to seeking alternative energy solutions through microbial sources. In addition Venter is the founder and chairman of The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR). Venter began his formal education after a tour of duty as a Navy Corpsman, in Danang, Vietnam from 1967 to 1968. After earning a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and a PhD in Physiology and Pharmacology, both from the University of California at San Diego and both in three years, he was appointed professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. In 1984, he moved to the National Institutes of Health campus where he developed expressed sequence tags or EST’s, a revolutionary new strategy for gene discovery. In 1992, he founded The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR). There he and his team decoded the genome of the first free-living organism, the bacterium Haemophilus influenzae, using his new whole genome shotgun technique. TIGR has sequenced more than 50 genomes to date using Venter’s techniques. In 1998, Venter founded Celera Genomics to sequence the human genome using the whole genome shotgun technique, new mathematical algorithms, and new automated DNA sequencing machines. The successful completion of this research culminated with the publication of the human genome in February 2001 in the journal, Science. In addition to the human genome, Venter and his team at Celera sequenced the fruit fly, mouse, and rat genomes. Venter and his team at the Venter Institute continue to blaze new trails in genomics research and have recently published several important papers outlining advances such as: environmental genomics through the characterization of more than one million new genes found from shotgun sequencing of the Sargasso Sea; synthetic biology with publication of the synthetic PhiX 174 research; and the sequence and analysis of the dog genome. Venter is the author of more than 200 research articles and is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees, public honors, and scientific awards. These include: Financial Times’ Man of the Year Award, TIME Magazine’s Man of the Year (runner-up), 2002 Gairdner Foundation International Award, and the 2001 Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize. Venter is a member of numerous prestigious scientific organizations including the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Society for Microbiology. Venter was also one of the first 38 people to be selected by Desmond Tutu as part of his “Hands that Shape Humanity” world exhibition.
- Speaker PopTech 2006
There’s always something brewing in the PopTech community. From the world-changing people, projects and ideas in our network, a handful of this week’s highlights follows.