George Church is a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and a professor of health sciences and technology at Harvard and MIT. He is director of the U.S. Department of Energy Technology Center and director of the National Institutes of Health Center of Excellence in Genomic Science. Dr. Church currently leads synthetic biology at the Wyss Institute, where he oversees the directed evolution of molecules, polymers, and whole genomes to create new tools in regenerative medicine and bio-production of chemicals. He has received numerous awards including the 2011 Bower Award, the Prize for Achievement in Science from the Franklin Institute, and election to the National Academy of Sciences and Engineering.
Dr. Church’s 1984 Harvard PhD included the first methods for direct genome sequencing, molecular multiplexing, and barcoding, which led to the first genome sequence (pathogen, Helicobacter pylori). He helped initiate the Human Genome Project and the Personal Genome Project and invented concepts of molecular multiplexing and tags, homologous recombination methods, and array DNA synthesizers that have been the basis for a number of companies including Editas (gene therapy); Gen9bio (synthetic DNA); and Veritas Genetics (full human genome sequencing). Among his recent work at the Wyss Institute is a technology that synthesizes whole genes and engineers whole genomes faster, more accurately, and less costly than current methods.