Public Release: 

Craig Venter, leading scientist and innovator, to get honorary degree

Arizona State University

TEMPE, Ariz. - J. Craig Venter, an internationally known scientist who is responsible for developing high volume genome sequencing, will receive an honorary doctorate from Arizona State University on May 10 at a 9:30 a.m. commencement ceremony.

An entrepreneur and maverick in both science and business, Venter 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 virtually 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 founder, chairman and CEO of the J. Craig Venter Institute, a not-for-profit 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 multi-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 U.S. 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 American Society for Microbiology. He has published more than 220 research articles and received many awards in recognition of his work.

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