Leading scientist Venter to get honorary degree
J. Craig Venter, an internationally known scientist who is responsible for developing high-volume genome sequencing, will receive an honorary doctorate from ASU at a 9:30 a.m. commencement ceremony in Wells Fargo Arena May 10. He also will speak at the event.
Venter, an entrepreneur and maverick in science and business, was named Scientist of the Year by Time magazine in 2000. His success in cracking the human genetic code was called perhaps the most important scientific event of the past century, with implications for almost every aspect of biology and medicine.
Venter is equally recognized as an innovation leader, an advocate for rapid scientific advancement, and a champion of competition and commercialization in the area of biotechnology. He is the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of the J. Craig Venter Institute, a nonprofit research organization that advances the science of genomics and seeks understanding of the field's implications for society.
The institute recently announced results from its Sorcerer II Global Ocean Sampling Expedition, a multiple-year voyage that circumnavigated the world's oceans surveying marine and terrestrial microbial populations.
In its first phase, the expedition gathered an unprecedented amount of data, including the discovery of millions of new genes and thousands of new protein families, which have the potential to provide a better understanding of key biological processes.
After serving as a Navy medical corpsman in Vietnam, Venter earned his bachelor's degree in biochemistry, and a doctorate in physiology and pharmacology from the University of California-San Diego. At the National Institutes of Health, he developed express sequence tags for gene discovery, and later founded the Institute for Genomic Research, where he and his team decoded the genome of the first free-living organism. In 1998, he co-founded Celera Genomics, a private effort that simultaneously completed the first draft of the human genome along with a government-sponsored Human Genome Project.
Venter is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Society for Microbiology. He has published more than 220 research articles and received many awards in recognition of his work.