Genomics pioneer Dr. Venter this year's keynote speaker

May 6, 2012

In one of this year's biggest annual meeting highlights, J. Craig Venter, PhD, regarded as one of the 21st century's leading scientists, will be the keynote speaker at the opening session on Sunday. His presentation is entitled "From Reading to Writing the Genetic Code."

Fort Lauderdale, FL-In one of this year’s biggest annual meeting highlights, J. Craig Venter, PhD, regarded as one of the 21st century’s leading scientists, will be the keynote speaker at the opening session on Sunday. His presentation is entitled “From Reading to Writing the Genetic Code.”

Dr. Venter’s numerous contributions to genomic research include publication of the first draft human genome in 2001, the first complete diploid human genome in 2007, and the creation of the first self-replicating bacterial cell constructed entirely with synthetic DNA.

He is founder, chairman, and president of the J. Craig Venter Institute, a nonprofit organization with about 300 scientists and staff dedicated to human, microbial, plant, synthetic, and environmental genomic research, as well as the exploration of social and ethical issues in genomics.

He also is founder and chief executive officer of Synthetic Genomics Inc., a privately held company developing and applying genomic-driven commercial solutions to markets including biofuels, biochemicals, and new bio-based food products.

Dr. Venter will describe the journey of reading genetic code, or “digitizing biology,” of the numerous important microbes, plants, and mammals he and his teams investigated over the past few decades. Topics of discussion include the sequencing of the first genome of a living species in 1995 (H. flu), the first draft human genome in 2000, and the first complete diploid genome in 2007, which was his own genome.

He is expected to detail the discoveries from the Sorcerer II Global Ocean Sampling Expedition and other environmental genomics projects, including the human microbiome. He will discuss the process of writing the genetic code, which is taking digitized information to create new life out of the computer, and will outline many applications of synthetic genomics and discuss the societal and ethical implications of synthetic genomics.

“ARVO is excited to host Dr. Venter as our keynote speaker,” said ARVO President Jeffrey Boatright, PhD, FARVO, of Emory University in Atlanta. “His career demonstrates the very essence of translational research, as he and his team performed the fundamental work of sequencing the human genome and are now applying their findings and creating solutions to everyday challenges in human health, energy, and the environment.

“Our meeting attendees are looking forward to hearing his story and the insights he can share about bridging the gap between the lab and everyday life,” he said.

The ARVO Social follows the Keynote Session in the Grand Ballroom foyer. All attendees are welcome.

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