Wyss Institute at Harvard University

Team Leader Bio: 
Dr. George Church is Founding Core Faculty and Faculty Lead of the Synthetic Biology Platform at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University; Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School; Director of the NIH Center for Excellence in Genomic Science; and Director of PersonalGenomes.org (providing the world's only open-access information source for human genomic, environmental and trait data). His 1984 Harvard Ph.D. included the first methods for direct genome sequencing, molecular multiplexing, barcoding and automation. These led to the first commercial genome sequence in 1994. His innovations in "next generation" genome sequencing and synthesis and cell/tissue engineering resulted in the development of 12 companies involved in medical genomics and synthetic biology, as well as the creation of new privacy, biosafety and biosecurity policies. His honors include the Hoogendijk Prize, Franklin Laureate for Achievement in Science, and election to both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.
Team Story: 

The Wyss Institute at Harvard University team has supported this the Archon Genomics XPrize presented by Express Scripts competition since its inception as a tool for public outreach, education, and advocacy of ever-higher quality standards for Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS). This has recently become even more crucial as WGS is increasingly applied in clinical use. The Wyss Institute's team consists of a talented pool of geneticists, engineers, research assistants and postdoctoral fellows, combining their multidisciplinary skills for this Competition.

Team Quote: 
We support the sequencing of exceptionally old yet healthy individuals to see if such resources may tell us more about health than studies focused on so-called common diseases. The importance of what types of DNA can protect against human ailments has been insufficiently studied, and the availability of open-access genomic data on such individuals and cell lines will be invaluable. This is a great moment to reflect on the 2,400 genetic diseases that occur, and how we might address the corresponding parts of our genome for prediction and prevention.
Team Videos 
Team Location: 
Boston, MA
Team Leader: 

George Church, Ph.D.
Core Faculty, Wyss Institute, Harvard University; Professor of Genetics, Harvard Medical School

Team Members: 

Richard C. Terry, M.S.
Lead Senior Staff Scientist, Wyss Institute, Harvard University

Chao Li, Ph.D.
Staff Scientist, Wyss Institute, Harvard University

Samuel A. Inverso, Ph.D.
Staff Engineer, Wyss Institute, Harvard University

Frederic Vigneault, Ph.D.
Staff Scientist, Wyss Institute, Harvard University

Nick Conway, S.M.
Staff Engineer, Wyss Institute, Harvard University

John Harding
Research Assistant, Wyss Institute, Harvard University

Benjamin Pruitt
Research Assistant, Wyss Institute, Harvard Medical School

Brian Turczyk, Ph.D.
Staff Scientist, Wyss Institute, Harvard University

Kevin McCarthy
Chief Technology Officer, Kollmorgen Medical and Lab Automation

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