Plenary Speakers

Dickson Prize in Medicine Lecture
From Reading to Writing the Genetic Code
11:00 a.m., Thursday, 6 October

J. Craig Venter, PhD
Synthetic Genomics Inc.
J. Craig Venter Institute

J. Craig Venter, PhD, is known worldwide for his seminal achievements in the field of genomics. His team completed sequencing the first draft human genome in 2001 and the first diploid human genome in 2007. He is the founder and president of the J. Craig Venter Institute and founder and CEO of Synthetic Genomics Inc.

In May 2010, Venter and his team reported in Science that they had constructed the first synthetic bacterial cell. Having removed the DNA from a bacterium, Mycoplasma mycoides, Venter and colleagues designed a genome, synthesized it in the lab, and transplanted it into the bacterium Mycoplasma capricolum, converting it into a synthetic version of M. mycoides. It is the first living, self-sustaining organism with a synthetic genome. Venter’s current research involves developing applications for this technology, such as designing bacteria and yeast to consume carbon dioxide and generate fuels.

Venter earned his PhD in pharmacology and physiology from the University of California, San Diego in 1975. He is a recipient of the 2008 National Medal of Science, the 2008 ENI Award, the 2002 Gairdner Foundation International Award, and the 2001 Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the author of A Life Decoded: My Genome: My Life (Viking, 2007).

For more information about Dr. Venter and the Dickson Prize in Medicine, go to

Can’t attend in person? Watch the live webcast of Dr. Venter’s Dickson Prize in Medicine Lecture here, or bookmark it and watch the recorded talk at your leisure.