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Leading player in decoding human genome to speak April 24


Melissa Mitchell, Arts Editor
(217) 333-5491 ; melissa@illinois.edu

4/23/2001



CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — J. Craig Venter, one of the nation's leading players in the drama that led to decoding the human genome, will visit the University of Illinois Tuesday (April 24) to present the annual Arnold O. Beckman Lecture in Science and Innovation.

Venter, the president and chief scientific officer of Celera Genomics, will talk about "Sequencing the Human Genome" at 7:30 p.m. in the Foellinger Auditorium, located at the south end of the UI Quad.

Venter is well known for leading the privatized side of an international research effort to sequence the human genome. In the United States, public efforts directed toward the same goal have been carried out by scientists working on the Human Genome Project at the National Institutes of Health.

Venter launched Celera in 1998 jointly with Applera Corp., with the goal of becoming the definitive source of genomic and related medical and biomedical information. Venter also is founder and chairman of the board of the Institute for Genomic Research, a not-for-profit genomics research institution in Rockville, Md. He served as the institute’s president from 1992-98.

From 1984-1992, Venter worked for the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the National Institutes of Health, serving in various capacities, including section chief and lab chief. Prior to that, he taught at the State University of New York at Buffalo and the Roswell Park Memorial Institute.
Venter was nominated to give the Beckman lecture by faculty members in the UI's department of entomology and political science.

Other sponsors of the talk are the Biotechnology Center; Center for Advanced Study; College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, College of Commerce and Business Administration; College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; David Gottlieb Research Award Fund; departments of animal sciences, crop sciences, natural resources and environmental sciences; Neuroscience Program; Research Board; and schools of Integrative Biology, and Molecular and Cellular Biology.

The Beckman lecture series was established in 1982 by the Research Board to reflect the character and career of Beckman, a scientist, inventor and industrialist whose career the board considers an illustration of the process by which fundamental discoveries are translated into products for everyday use.