Kresge Library

Dr. J. Craig Venter -- "Our Genomic Future"

Picture of J. Craig VenterPlease join Oakland University in welcoming Dr. J. Craig Venter for his presentation, "Our Genomic Future" on October 22nd at 3:00 p.m. in the Banquet Room of the Oakland Center.

Dr. Craig J. Venter, president of The Center for the Advancement of Genomics, has played a leading role in sequencing and analyzing the human genome. In his presentation, Dr. Venter will detail the lessons gleaned from sequencing the human genome as well as a multitude of other species' genomes. He will speak about the impact genomic information could have on biology and medicine; evolutionary history; and the complex relationship between genes, environment, disease and behavior.

The lecture and reception are open to the public at no charge. Co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences' Center for Biomedical Research, with support from the Distinguished Programs Fund and the Student Program Board.

The Varner Vitality Seminar Series, named in honor of Oakland's first chancellor, Durwood "Woody" Varner, aims to energize and sustain the highest academic and scholarly aspirations of the university community. Dr. Venter's accomplishments, together with his bold visions and his passion for inquiry and discovery, make him an ideal Varner Vitality speaker.

Related Event: Professor Doug Wendell, from the Department of Biology, will lead a discussion on the work on Dr. Craig Venter in The Honors College (112 Vandenberg Hall) on Monday, 20 October, 2003, at 2:00 p.m.

Dr. Venter has been called one of the top three scientists of the past hundred years. Celera Genomics, the privately funded organization he founded, decoded the human genome faster and more economically than the publicly funded consortium of scientists. At the White House press conference announcing the sequencing of the human genome, President Bill Clinton called it "the most important, most wondrous map ever produced by mankind."

Craig Venter's scholarly success came relatively late in life. He was a poor student in high school, unable to memorize for the kinds of tests that were popular in the 1950s. He was an expert swimmer, though, and as a California surfer, he developed a keen intuition for the best waves.

His analytical and intuitive skills enabled him to excel in triage in Vietnam, an assignment that attracted his attention to the fragile boundary between life and death. After returning from overseas duty, he enrolled in a junior college, where he came under the influence of an English teacher who allowed students to create their own assignments
in a composition class.

Venter was one of the few takers, but this opportunity to follow his own lights enabled him to exploit his gifts for intuition and metaphorical thinking as compensation for his struggle with memorization. For example, the "shotgun" metaphor eventually became a key to unlocking the human genome.

In addition to his celebrated scientific accomplishments and productive use of imagination in scientific inquiry, Dr. Venter is notable as an entrepreneur whose restless quest for knowledge has propelled him to seek ways to cut through bureaucracy and funding limitations.

--These biographical notes were adapted by Ronald A. Sudol from "The Book of Life: Craig Venter's Shotgun Genomics" by Ted Anton, a chapter from his book "Bold Science: Seven Scientists Who Are Changing Our World”


Articles by Dr. Venter:

Articles about Dr. Venter & his research:


Created on 12/12/06 by 10/01/03 by Beth Kraemer, Ronald A. Sudol, and Robert Slater / Last updated on 8/25/13 by Robert Slater
Oakland University

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