Scientific Leadership

SGI-DNA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Synthetic Genomics Inc., is led by world class scientists in the field of genomic research.

J. Craig Venter, Ph.D.

Dr. J. Craig Venter is regarded as one of the leading scientists of the 21st century. He is the author of more than 250 research articles and is among the most cited scientists in the world. His most notable works include the sequencing and analysis of the human genome published in 2001 and the creation of the first synthetic cell in 2010. He is also the recipient of numerous honorary degrees, public honors, and scientific awards, including the 2008 United States National Medal of Science, the 2002 Gairdner Foundation International Award and the 2001 Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize. Dr. 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. Dr. Venter has published two books, his autobiography A Life Decoded (Viking 2007) and Life at the Speed of Light (Viking 2013) which examines the history and future application of synthetic biology.

Hamilton O. Smith, M.D.

Dr. Hamilton Smith is the scientific director of the Synthetic Biology team at the J. Craig Venter Institute. Hamilton received the 1978 Nobel Prize for his work on the discovery of restriction enzymes, which are essential tools used in the field of recombinant DNA technology. He is widely considered one of the experts in DNA library construction and DNA manipulation techniques. Hamilton was formerly the senior director of DNA Resources at Celera Genomics. Prior to joining Celera, he joined the scientific team at The Institute for Genomic Research, a position he held after leaving the Johns Hopkins University where he was professor of molecular biology and genetics. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Dan Gibson, Ph.D.

Dan joined SGI in February of 2011 after spending more than 6 years at the JCVI where he was a key member of the team that created the first synthetic cell. He has had an immediate impact on SGI by bringing the synthetic genomics tools he developed at JCVI to SGI, and leading the DNA synthesis team that developed a rapid approach for producing accurate influenza genes used in synthetic flu vaccine production. Dan and his team advanced automated DNA synthesis, assembly, and error correction methods which is used by SGI-DNA today and expanded collaboration with IDT, formed the foundation of the Digital to Biological Converter, and generated numerous commercial opportunities through the sale of synthetic DNA, reagents, and instrumentation.