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George Church

Born August 28, 1954
MacDill Air Force Base, Florida
Residence Boston, Massachusetts
Citizenship U.S.
Nationality U.S.
Fields Genetics
Institutions Harvard, MIT
Alma mater Duke, Harvard

George Church (August 28, 1954- ) is an American molecular geneticist. He is currently Professor of Genetics[1] at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Health Sciences and Technology[2] at Harvard and MIT.

With Walter Gilbert he developed the first direct genomic sequencing method in 1984[3] and helped initiate the Human Genome Project in 1984[4] while he was a Research Scientist at newly-formed Biogen Inc. He invented the broadly-applied concepts of molecular multiplexing and tags[5], homologous recombination methods[6], and DNA array synthesizers. Technology transfer of automated sequencing & software to Genome Therapeutics Corp. resulted in the first commercial genome sequence, (the human pathogen, Helicobacter pylori) in 1994[7].

He initiated the Personal Genome Project (PGP)[8] in 2005 and research on synthetic biology. He is director of the U.S. Department of Energy Center on Bioenergy at Harvard & MIT[9] and director of the National Institutes of Health (NHGRI) Center of Excellence in Genomic Science at Harvard, MIT & Washington University[10].

He has been advisor to 22 companies, most recently co-founding (with Joseph Jacobson, Jay Keasling, and Drew Endy) Codon Devices, a biotech startup dedicated to synthetic biology. With their proprietary BioFAB platform, Codon Devices produces the DNA or protein sequences anybody orders.[11] With Chris Somerville he founded LS9, which is focused on biofuels or renewable petroleum technologies.[12] He is a senior editor for Nature EMBO Molecular Systems Biology.


  1. ^ HMS Genetics Faculty
  2. ^ HST
  3. ^ Church GM, Gilbert W (1984). "Genomic Sequencing". Proc Nat Acad Sci USA 81: 1991–5. doi:10.1073/pnas.81.7.1991. PMID 6326095.  
  4. ^ Cook-Deegan RM (1989). "The Alta summit, December 1984". Genomics 5: 661–3. doi:10.1016/0888-7543(89)90042-6. PMID 2613249.  
  5. ^ Church GM, Kieffer-Higgins S. (1984). "Multiplex Sequencing". Science 240: 185–8. doi:10.1126/science.3353714. PMID 3353714.  
  6. ^ Link AJ, Phillips D, Church GM (1997). "Methods for generating precise deletions and insertions in the genome of wild-type Escherichia coli: application to open reading frame characterization". J Bacteriol. 179: 6228–37. PMID 9335267.  
  7. ^ "Capitalizing on the genome". Nature Genetics 13: 1. 1996. doi:10.1038/ng0596-1. PMID 8673083.  [1]
  8. ^ Church GM (2005). "The personal genome project". Mol Syst Biol. 1: 0030. doi:10.1038/msb4100040. PMID 16729065.  
  9. ^ DOE Genomes to Life Center
  10. ^ Centers of Excellence in Genomic Science Awards
  11. ^ Herper M (2006). "Photoshop For DNA". Forbes.  [2]
  12. ^ San Francisco Business Times - March 12, 2007

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