John Craig Venter

Work and research

En savoir plusBiographies

En savoir plus John Craig Venter Institute

The J. Craig Venter Institute was formed in October 2006 through the merger of several affiliated and legacy organizations — The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) and The Center for the Advancement of Genomics (TCAG), The J. Craig Venter Science Foundation, The Joint Technology Center, and the Institute for Biological Energy Alternatives (IBEA). Today all these organizations have become one large multidisciplinary genomic-focused organization. With more than 300 scientists and staff, more than 250,000 square feet of laboratory space, and locations in Rockville, Maryland and San Diego, California, the new JCVI is a world leader in genomic research.


Our research groups focus on human genomic medicine, infectious disease, plant, microbial and environmental genomics, synthetic biology and biological energy, bioinformatics, and software engineering. One of our core areas has always been high-throughput genomic sequencing. This team is housed in a facility in Rockville and features the latest DNA sequencers, a new technology development lab and a state-of-the-art data center. The JCVI has a Policy Center dedicated to exploring the social and ethical issues surrounding genomic research, and an Education Group that seeks to enlighten and engage the next generation of scientists through efforts such as the Discover!Genomics mobile laboratory.

Synthetic biology & bioenergy


Each year we continue to put more and more carbon in our atmosphere through the use of fossil fuels. Our growing dependence on this source of fuel is leading to potentially catastrophic changes in our global environment such as increasing temperatures and melting ice caps to drought and wildfires. In short we are conducting a very large, uncontrolled experiment with our planet that could have dire consequences for sustaining life here. At the JCVI we believe we all share a responsibility to find new energy sources and to uncover ways to mitigate our negative impact on the planet. We're using our pioneering genomic science to explore new biologically-driven sources of energy.
Since 1995, Dr. Venter and his teams have been trying to develop a minimal cell both to understand the fundamentals of biology and to begin the process of building a new cell and organism with optimized functions. Our scientists (with funding from the company, Synthetic Genomics Inc. and the U.S. Department of Energy) are focused on developing synthetic organisms able to produce various kinds of biological products and renewable fuels. Over the last years the team has been making steady progress toward their goal of a synthetic organism.
In 2003, JCVI researchers created a synthetic version of the bacteriophage, PhiX 174, and recently they successfully transformed one species of bacteria to another by genome transplantation. As they progress on their goal of synthetic life, they are ever mindful of the societal implications of this work. From the first work on a minimal genome in 1995 to today, these ethical implications are being explored by our scientists and policy experts. Synthetic genomics holds great promise for the future and our team intends to be at the forefront of discoveries and the important public dialogue.

En savoir plus Synthetic Genomics
Synthetic Genomics Inc. was founded to commercialize genomic-driven technologies. Our scientific strength lies in the decades of pioneering research by founders, J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., Nobel Laureate Hamilton O. Smith, M.D., and the leading scientific teams they have assembled. Dr. Venter and his teams have proven track records of making scientific breakthroughs that translate into viable commercial solutions.
The company's scientific capabilities encompass areas such as environmental genomics, microbiology, biochemistry, bioinformatics, plant genomics, genome engineering, synthetic biology, and climate change. In addition to the strong applied research efforts conducted at SGI, the company sponsors fundamental research at the J. Craig Venter Institute, a not-for-profit organization with more than 400 scientists and staff working on a variety of genomic research and policy fronts. In addition to the Intellectual Property developed internally, SGI has exclusive access to new inventions and discoveries in synthetic genomics research developed by the JCVI under the Sponsored Research Agreement between both organizations.

Selected publications

More publications on the JCVI website