Scientific Advisory Board

J. Craig Venter, Ph.D.
Scientific Advisory Board Co-Chair

J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., is regarded as one of the leading scientists of the 21st century for his numerous invaluable contributions to genomic research. He is Founder, Chairman, and President of the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), a not-for-profit, research organization with approximately 400 scientists and staff dedicated to human, microbial, plant, synthetic and environmental genomic research, and the exploration of social and ethical issues in genomics.

Dr. Venter is also Founder and CEO of Synthetic Genomics Inc., a privately held company dedicated to commercializing genomic-driven solutions to address global needs such as new sources of energy and next generation vaccines.

Dr. Venter began his formal education after a tour of duty as a Navy Corpsman in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968. After earning both a Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry and a Ph.D. in Physiology and Pharmacology from the University of California at San Diego, he was appointed professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. In 1984, he moved to the National Institutes of Health campus where he developed Expressed Sequence Tags or ESTs, a revolutionary new strategy for rapid gene discovery. In 1992 Dr. Venter founded The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR, now part of JCVI), a not-for-profit research institute, where in 1995 he and his team decoded the genome of the first free-living organism, the bacterium Haemophilus influenzae, using his new whole genome shotgun technique.

In 1998, Dr. Venter founded Celera Genomics to sequence the human genome using new tools and techniques he and his team developed. This research culminated with the February 2001 publication of the human genome in the journal, Science. He and his team at Celera also sequenced the fruit fly, mouse and rat genomes.

Dr. Venter and his team at the Venter Institute continue to blaze new trails in genomics. He and his team have sequenced and analyzed hundreds of genomes, and have published numerous important papers covering such areas as environmental genomics, the first complete diploid human genome, and the groundbreaking advance in creating the first self replicating bacterial cell constructed entirely with synthetic DNA.

Dr. Venter, one of the most frequently cited scientists, is the author of more than 250 research articles. 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.

Laurence H. Kedes, M.D
Scientific Advisory Board Co-Chair

Dr. Laurence Kedes (BS, 1961; MD, 1962; BA (Hon), 2009), is the William M. Keck Emeritus Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and of Medicine at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine. He was the founding Director of the Institute for Genetic Medicine (IGM). Prior to joining USC, he had a 20-year career on the Stanford faculty of medicine where he pioneered molecular genetics and eukaryotic gene expression while also serving as a clinical hematologist. He is currently a Visiting Professor of Biological Chemistry at the Geffen School of Medicine of UCLA.

Dr. Kedes’s research interests have used molecular biology and molecular genetic technologies to study the differentiation of organisms and cells. He has made numerous contributions to understanding the role of gene expression in generating cellular phenotypes. He led the effort to successfully clone the first animal cell genes coding for a protein and to provide the first DNA sequence for animal protein genes. His interests in DNA sequences led him to formulate the need for bioinformatics methods to deal with such information and to collaborate in production of one of the first sets of computer programs (MOLGEN) to handle DNA sequence and other molecular genetic information. These efforts led to the creation by Dr. Kedes and others of BioNet, the first national computer network (pre-internet) funded by the NIH to archive and make available for all scientists DNA sequence information.  The operation was the direct forerunner of GenBank, the international repository of all genetic sequences and helped form the foundation for the field of genomic bioinformatics.

In 2005 Kedes became the Scientific Director and Senior Advisor of the non-profit XPRIZE Foundation and helped lead the effort to create the $10 million Archon Genomic XPRIZE presented by Express Scripts for rapid, inexpensive genome sequencing and continues to serve in this capacity.

Dr Samir K Brahmachari, Ph.D.

Dr Samir K Brahmachari, after being Director of CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB), Delhi for 10 years, took over as the Director General of CSIR and Secretary, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Govt of India in November 2007.  He is presently also the Chief Mentor of Open Source Drug Discovery (OSDD), effort of students in developing system biology model of Mtb for novel drug discovery.  As Director, CSIR-IGIB, he led the genomics initiative in India.  His academic contributions in the area of genomics include the charting the variation in the Indian Genome, pharmacogenomics, genome informatics as new research domain and the discovery of genomic markers for neuropsychiatric disorders.  His contribution in promoting genomics research in India through thrust area development in granting agencies, lectures, courses and human-resource training is very significant.

Before he joined the CSIR family, he was a professor at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, another premier scientific institution of the country.  Dr Brahmachari has been involved in issues relating to Human Genome research ethics and Human Rights.  As a member of the steering committee of the International Human Rights Commission, he has contributed to the formulation of the draft guidelines in terms of benefit sharing by the populations that are the part of the research endeavour as resources of genetic material and addressed issues of unethical exploitation of genetic resources of the Third World.  Dr Brahmachari has contributed significantly to promoting industry-academia interactions through novel program of knowledge partnerships in genomics and bioinformatics.  He received his B.S. in Chemistry with honours from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata and his M.S. in Physical Chemistry from Calcutta University.  Dr Brahmachari received Ph.D. in Molecular Biophysics Unit, Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, India.  He has been the recipient of a number of national and international awards and plenary speaker in several international meetings across the world.  He has more than 140 publications and several patents to his credit.

He was recently named as one of the 25 Most Valuable Indians by The Week magazine.

Charles Cantor Ph.D.

Dr. Charles Cantor is a founder, and Chief Scientific Officer at SEQUENOM, Inc., which is a genetics discovery company with tools, information and strategies for determining the medical impact of genes and genetic variations. He is also founder of SelectX Pharmaceuticals, a drug discovery company, Retrotope, an anti-aging company, and Dithera, a biotherapeutic company. Dr. Cantor is professor emeritus Biomedical Engineering and Pharmacology and was the director of the Center for Advanced Biotechnology at Boston University.  He is adjunct professor of Bioengineering at UC San Diego, adjunct professor of Molecular Biology at the Scripps Institute for Research, and distinguished adjunct professor of Physiology and Biophysics at UC Irvine. Prior to this, Dr. Cantor held positions in at Columbia University and the University of California at Berkeley. He was also the director of the Human Genome Center Project of the Department of Energy at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory.  Dr. Cantor has been granted 60 US patents and wrote a three-volume textbook on biophysical chemistry. He co-authored the first textbook on Genomics titled 'The Science and Technology of the Human Genome Project'.  In addition, he sits on the advisory boards of more than 15 national and international biotechnology firms, has published more than 450 peer-reviewed articles, and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Felix W. Frueh, Ph.D.

Felix Frueh is a thought leader in personalized medicine with 15 years of R&D, management and policy experience. Currently, Felix is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Third Rock Ventures in Boston, where he provides strategic input on new and existing portfolio companies with a particular focus on personalized medicine. In addition, he is the Executive Partner at Opus Three LLC, a consulting firm specializing in scientific, regulatory and reimbursement strategies for the clinical application of personalized medicine.

Prior, Felix was President of the Medco Research Institute™, leading Medco’s real-world, outcomes-oriented research initiatives and collaborations after having formed Medco’s personalized medicine research and development organization. Felix was the first Associate Director for Genomics at the U.S. FDA, where he built and led the core genomics review team in CDER, and chaired the first FDA-wide, interdisciplinary pharmacogenomics review group (IPRG). Before joining FDA, he was Managing Partner at Stepoutside Consulting, and held senior positions at Transgenomic and Protogene Laboratories.

Felix is a Member of the Board of the Personalized Medicine Coalition, holds an Adjunct Faculty position at the Institute for Pharmacogenomics and Individualized Therapy (IPIT) at the University of North Carolina (UNC) and has held faculty appointments in the Departments of Pharmacology and Medicine at Georgetown University in Washington DC. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University and the University of Basel, Switzerland, where he also received his Ph.D. in biochemistry.

David J. Galas, Ph.D.

David Galas is Professor and Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at the Institute for Systems Biology where he conducts his research, and leads multi-investigator projects. Prior to ISB he was Chief Science Officer for Life Sciences of the Battelle Memorial Institute, where he directed and coordinated biological science programs across several national laboratories and other research institutions. He was Chancellor, Chief Scientific Officer and Norris Professor of Applied Life Science at the Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences (KGI), in Claremont, CA, a new research and educational institution in the applied life sciences, which he co-founded. Dr. Galas also served as President and Chief Scientific Officer of Seattle-based Chiroscience R&D, Inc., a genomics and drug discovery company. This company was formed through the acquisition of Darwin Molecular Corporation, which Galas co-founded in 1993 and led as CEO and Chief Scientific Officer. Prior to his involvement in the biotechnology industry, Dr. Galas served as Director for Health and Environmental Research at the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science, where he headed the DOE's Human Genome Project from 1990 to 1993, while on leave from the University of Southern California. He was Professor of Molecular Biology at USC, on the faculty for twelve years, and department chairman for five years.

Dr. Galas' formal educational training was in physics, and he received his undergraduate degree and his PhD in physics from the University of California. He has held research positions at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and the University of California's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. His broad research interests include areas of molecular biology and human genetics, the development and application of new technologies in the life sciences, and the understanding of complex biological networks, in both experiment and theory. His current research includes studies in the roles of microRNA in cellular regulation, the integration of systems biology and genetics and the application of new computational approaches to genetics, and the study of several neurodegenerative, inflammatory and fibrotic diseases. His recent work on the complexity of biological systems involves the application of information theory and algorithmic complexity to complex networks.

He is the recipient of several awards including the Smithsonian Institution-Computer World Pioneer award in 1999. He has served on many federal, university and corporate boards, including several biotechnology companies he has co-founded, and on various advisory and NRC committees, including the National Research Council Board on Life Science, the Board of Directors of the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation which he currently chairs, and the National Cancer Policy Board. He is a lifetime National Associate of the National Academy of Sciences.

Robert Hariri M.D., Ph.D.

The CEO of Celgene Cellular Therapeutics, Dr. Hariri pioneered the use of human stem cells to treat a range of life threatening diseases. In his career as neurosurgeon and trauma specialist at Cornell University, biotechnology executive, military surgeon and aviator, Dr. Hariri is most recognized for his discovery of pluripotent stem cells from placenta and as a member of the team that discovered TNF (tumor necrosis factor). Dr. Hariri was awarded the Thomas Alva Edison Award in 2007 for his discovery of placental stem cells.

A jet-rated, commercial pilot with over 5000 hours of flight time in over 60 different military and civilian aircraft, Dr. Hariri is Vice-chairman of the Rocket Racing League and serves on numerous boards including Atlas Therapeutics and Wafergen and is a member of the Board of Visitors of the School of Engineering and the Science and Technology Council of Columbia University and a Trustee of the Liberty Science Center and Commissioner of Cancer Research in New Jersey.

Leroy Hood Ph.D.

Dr. Hood's research has focused on the study of molecular immunology, biotechnology, genomics and systems biology. His professional career began at Caltech where he and his colleagues pioneered four instruments — the DNA gene sequencer and synthesizer, and the protein synthesizer and sequencer — which comprise the technological foundation for contemporary molecular biology. In particular, the DNA sequencer has revolutionized genomics by allowing the rapid automated sequencing of DNA, which played a crucial role in contributing to the successful mapping of the human genome during the 1990s. In 1992, Dr. Hood moved to the University of Washington as founder and Chairman of the cross-disciplinary Department of Molecular Biotechnology. In 2000, he co-founded the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle, Washington to pioneer systems approaches to biology and medicine. Most recently, Dr. Hood's lifelong contributions to biotechnology have earned him the prestigious 2004 Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP) Award for Excellence in Molecular Diagnostics. He was also awarded the 2003 Lemelson—MIT Prize for Innovation and Invention, the 2002 Kyoto Prize in Advanced Technology and the 1987 Lasker Prize for his studies on the mechanism of immune diversity and the 2011 Russ Prize for developing the automated DNA sequencer. He has published more than 700 peer-reviewed papers, received 31 patents, and has co-authored textbooks in biochemistry, immunology, molecular biology, and genetics, and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Association of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Hood has also played a role in founding numerous biotechnology companies, including Amgen, Applied Biosystems, Systemix, Darwin, Rosetta and Integrated Diagnostics.

Doron Lancet, Ph.D.

Prof. Doron Lancet received his B.Sc. degree in chemistry and Physics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His Ph.D. degree was in chemical immunology at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot. Since 1981 he has been on the faculty of the Weizmann Institute of Science, where he previously headed the Department of Membrane Research and Biophysics, and is currently the Ralph and Lois Silver Professor of Human genomics at the department of Molecular Genetics. Lancet pioneered genome research in Israel, and currently is the head of Weizmann's Crown Human Genome Center, where he oversees DNA sequencing technology innovation. His research interests span genome variation, monogenic diseases, the genetic basis sense of smell, bioinformatics and the evolution of early life on earth. Prof. Lancet's team has pioneered the studies of the molecular basis olfaction, and developed Gene Cards, a world-known digital compendium of human genes. He received the first Takasago Award of the American Association for Chemoreception Sciences (1986), the USA R.H. Wright Award in Olfactory Research (1998) and Israel's Landau Prize (2008). Prof. Lancet is member of the European Molecular Biology Organization and is council member of the Human Genome Organization (HUGO).

Hans Lehrach, Ph.D.

Dr. Hans Lehrach is the director of The Department of Vertebrate Genomics at the Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Genetics in Berlin, Germany. His department is involved in developing techniques and concepts to make a global analysis of the structure and function of all genes in key organism feasible. Under funding from DGHP (German Human Genome Project) and from the NGFN (National Genome Research Network), genomic sequencing in now being carried further on the completion of the human genome, chromosome 22 of chimpanzee, as well as of medically relevant regions of the rat genome. Dr. Lehrach received his degree in Chemistry from the University of Vienna and did his Ph.D. thesis work at the Max-Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine in Göttingen, Germany.

Edison Liu M.D.

Dr. Edison T. Liu is the Executive Director of the Genome Institute of Singapore and the President of the Human Genome organization. Dr. Liu joined the Faculty of Medicine (Oncology) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1987 where he was director of UNC's Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in Breast Cancer, and the Chief of Medical Genetics. In 1996, he went to the National Cancer Institute (U.S.) as the Scientific Director for the Division of Clinical Sciences responsible for the intramural clinical and translational research programs. In 2001, Dr. Liu founded and assumed the position of Executive Director, Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS). The institute now houses 270 scientists within Singapore’s Biopolis. The focus of the GIS is on the functional genomics of transcriptional regulation. Dr. Liu is also the Chairman of the Governing Board for Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority, which is the key health regulatory agency for the nation that includes the FDA and national blood banking equivalents, and was previously, the executive director of the Singapore Cancer Syndicate, a governmental funding agency supporting clinical translational cancer research. Since 2007, Dr. Liu has been the President of the Human Genome Organization (HUGO).  A recipient of a number of scientific awards, Dr. Liu has published over 290 scientific articles, reviews, chapters, and books.  

Eddy Rubin MD, Ph.D.

Internationally recognized geneticist Eddy Rubin has served since 2002 as Director of the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (JGI), and Director of the Genomics Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, CA. As Director of the JGI, one of the world's largest sequencing centers, he oversaw the sequencing and analysis of 13% of the human genome (human chromosomes 5, 13 and 16), parts of the Neanderthal genome and the genomes of more than 200 animals, plants and microbes. Following the completion of the Human Genome Project, Dr. Rubin reoriented the JGI towards the application of genomics to studies related to bioenergy and climate change.

With more than 200 peer-reviewed publications, over 30 of them in the leading journals Science and Nature, his research focuses on the development of computational and biological approaches for studying genomes. His early scientific work centered on the functional exploration of the human genome, harnessing sequence comparisons between species for the discovery of genes and non-coding sequences of pivotal evolutionary and biomedical importance.  More recently, he spearheaded the new science of metagenomics, deriving important insights from his investigations of microbial communities inhabiting environments ranging from gutless ocean-dwelling worms to cow rumen.

In addition to his research and the training of more than 50 scientists who have passed through his laboratory, Dr. Rubin has been an influential leader in the field of genomics through his community activities. He sits on the editorial boards of several leading journals, including the Board of Reviewing Editors for the journal Science, has organized and chaired major genomics meetings and is a member of multiple scientific advisory boards. Through government advisory committee membership, Dr. Rubin has actively influenced the directions of genomic research at the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Yoshiyuki Sakaki

Dr. Yoshiyuki Sakaki is the President of Toyohashi University of Technology since April 2008. He is also Emeritus Professor of the University of Tokyo and Special Consultant of RIKEN. He is a world-leader of human genomics, and has served as the Director of RIKEN Genomic Sciences Center from 2004 to 2008 and also the President of HUGO (Human Genome Organization) from 2002 to 2005.  He has represented Japan in the International Human Genome Project, and the RIKEN team led by him made significant contribution to the completion of the human genome sequence.  He also has served as the director of the Japanese nation-wide projects, the Genome Network Project ( 2004-2008), and the Cell Innovation Program of MEXT, Japan from 2009.

He was awarded to "Chevalier" from France Government 2001, in recognition of his contribution to the scientific cooperation between France and Japan, the Award of Japanese Society of Human Genetics (2001), the Chu-nichi Culture Award from the Chu-nichi Culture Foundation in 2003, and Medal of Purple Ribbon from Japanese Government (2003). He is a member of the Science Council of Japan.

Hamilton O. Smith, M.D.

Dr. Hamilton Smith shared a Nobel Prize in 1978 for the discovery of restriction enzymes, a kind of molecular scissors used by bacteria to cut up threatening viruses and by biologists as an essential tool for manipulating DNA. In his current position, he is working to design and use microbes for carbon sequestration, clean energy production, and other applications. Dr. Smith was recruited to Johns Hopkins University in 1967, where he remained for thirty years. He was named the American Cancer Society Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus of Molecular Biology and Genetics in 1998. -In 1993, Dr. Smith joined the scientific advisory council of the Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR). There he and Craig Venter were the first to decode the genome of a bacterium, proving the feasibility of rapidly determining the sequence of many organisms. As senior director of DNA resources at the biotech company Celera Genomics, Dr. Smith helped lead an effort to sequence the human genome, which was completed in 2000. Dr. Smith did undergraduate work at the University of Illinois and the University of California at Berkeley. He earned his medical degree from Johns Hopkins.

Glen Stettin, M.D.

Glen Stettin is Senior Vice President of Clinical Research & New Solutions for Express Scripts. Dr. Stettin is an accomplished clinician and business leader committed to his passion for evidence-based, data-driven healthcare to improve outcomes for patients and lower total healthcare costs for payors. In his role, Dr. Stettin is responsible for the following: Express Scripts’ clinical products and services, including Consumerology® and the Therapeutic Resource Centers; Express Scripts’ specialty pharmacy; Channel, trend and formulary management and Research, information products, analytics and reporting.

Dr. Stettin joined Express Scripts with the acquisition of Medco, where he served as senior vice president and chief medical officer, and was responsible for pharmacy practice, including the Therapeutic Resource Centers, clinical product development and management, enterprise data quality, analytics and reporting.

Prior to Medco, Dr. Stettin served as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at the University of California, San Francisco, and Stanford. He sits on the Board of Directors for Hope Happens for Neurological Disorders, the Editorial Board for the American Journal of Managed Care and is a Member of the American College of Physicians.

Granger Sutton

Dr. Sutton is a professor at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) where his primary role is to coordinate the prokaryotic informatics group and oversee all aspects of shotgun fragment assembly. He was a director in the Informatics Research department at Celera Genomics from 1998 to 2004 where he developed and managed research programs in gene finding, comparative genomics, and shotgun fragment assembly including the development of the Celera Assembler for assembling the human genome. He was a Computer Scientist at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) from 1992-1998 developing protein homology search, multiple sequence alignment, and shotgun fragment assembly algorithms. From 1982 to 1985, he worked at AT&T Bell Labs as a Member of Technical Staff designing and implementing office automation software.

Dr. Sutton is currently investigating methods for automated, manual, and comparative structural and functional annotation, including work on metagenomic annotation via protein clustering. He is also overseeing the development of a new pangenome annotation pipeline to handle large sets of closely related prokaryotic organisms.

Dr. Sutton received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland College Park, an M.S. in Computer Engineering from Stanford Universtiy, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Maryland College Park.

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