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Wednesday, April 24, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Scientific Pioneer to Speak at UB

Not many people can say they have sequenced the human genome, but J. Craig Venter can.

Venter, one of the world's leading scientists in genomics, has made some groundbreaking studies, observing the sequences of DNA and genes in a cell.

In his most recent accomplishment, achieved last summer, Venter and his team created synthetic bacteria using a computer and man-made DNA. Creating life in a lab is a phenomenon scientists have been trying to achieve for years, and Venter made it happen.

Venter was a former professor at UB and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute after earning a Bachelor's degree in biochemistry and a Ph.D. in physiology and pharmacology from the University of California.

In 1992, Venter founded The Institute for Genomic Research, a non-profit research institute stationed in Rockville, Md. There, Venter and his team successfully decoded the genome of the first free-living organism using their newly developed genome shotgun technique.

Venter also founded Celera Genomics in 1998, sequencing the human genome by using new methods and tools that he and his team developed. The research that was done at Celera was published in the journal Science in 2001.

As a member of National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Society for Microbiology, Venter has written more than 200 research articles and received many other honorary degrees, public honors, and scientific awards over his years in the field.

Listed as one of TIME Magazine's 100 most influential people in the world in 2007 and 2008. Venter has received many of science's top honors as well. In 2001 he received the Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaeder Prize, and in 2002 he won the Gairdner Foundation International Award.

Venter's most recent brainchild is the J. Craig Venter Institute, of which he currently oversees as the president. The organization has over 400 scientists and staff members, which conduct genomic research, explore social and ethical issues in genomics, and look for alternative energy solutions utilizing genomics.

In 2010 Venter was one of the 25 finalists for the TIME Person of the Year Award. He currently runs a biotech company called Synthetic Genomics, which in 2009 was announced to be collaborating with Exxon Mobile to develop new biofuels.

This renowned scientist will be coming to speak at the UB as the final speaker in this year's Distinguished Speaker Series on Wednesday, April 27 at the Alumni Arena at 8 p.m.




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