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J. Craig Venter, 2006-03-02

 Item — Multiple Containers
Oral History | J. Craig Venter
Oral History | J. Craig Venter

Scope and Contents

Craig Venter, biologist and genomic research pioneer, is interviewed by Mila Pollock and Jan Witkowski, on March 2, 2006, at the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Maryland.

Craig Venter discusses the following in his interview: Scene 1. Early involvement in genomics -- Scene 2. The beginning of automated sequencing -- Scene 3. ESTs development -- Scene 4. British research -- Scene 5. Challenges -- Scene 6. Decision to leave NIH -- Scene 7. 1998 Cold Spring Harbor Genome Meeting -- Scene 8. Collaboration at Celera -- Scene 9. Whole genome shotgun sequencing -- Scene 10. Competition and cooperation in genomics -- Scene 11. Sharing sequence data -- Scene 12. Luck vs. effort in science -- Scene 13. Advice to young scientists -- Scene 14. Comments on sequencing his own genome.


  • Creation: 2006-03-02


Conditions Governing Access

Portions of this collection have been digitized and are available online: Select tapes have been digitized thanks to support from CLIR Recordings at Risk Grant awarded in 2021, these tapes are available for research online via our Oral History Website and in person at CSHL Archives. Please contact CSHL Archives with any questions regarding availability.

Biographical / Historical

J. Craig Venter, biologist and genomic research pioneer, was born in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1946. Following military service in Vietnam, he studied biochemistry as an undergraduate at the University of California, San Diego, where he also received a Ph.D. in Physiology and Pharmacology in 1975. He joined the faculty of the Medical School of State University of New York at Buffalo in 1976, joining its affiliated Roswell Park Cancer Institute in 1982 as Professor and Associate Chief Cancer Research Scientist. Beginning in 1982, and for the next decade, Dr. Venter headed various sections of NIH's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

In 1992 he founded The Institute for Genomic Research (known as TIGR) where he and colleagues became the first to successfully sequence the genome of an entire organism. Dr. Venter's Celera Genomics, founded in 1998, used a strategy known as the whole genome shotgun approach to compete with the publicly-funded Human Genome Project, which served to accelerate the mapping of the whole human genome by 2000. Dr. Venter's current venture, the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), was formed in 2006, from the merger of several predecessor enterprises. A leader in genomic research, the JCVI announced in January 2008, the largest synthetically derived DNA structure, advancing it towards its goal of creating a living cell based on an entirely synthetic genome. In September 2007, the JCVI announced the sequencing of Dr. Venter's genome, the first sequencing of an individual's genome. Venter currently serves as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the JCVI.

Among Dr. Venter's numerous awards and honors are the American Academy of Microbiology Fellow (1997), the American Chemical Society, Division of Biochemical Technology David Perlman Memorial Lectureship Award (2000), and the U.S. State Department, Secretary's Open Forum Public Service Award (2001). He was on Time magazine's 2007 and 2008 Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world. Dr. Venter is a member of the American Society of Human Genetics, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Society of Microbiology, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


2 Cassettes (Camcorder footage) : MiniDV - CSHL1185, CSHL1186

1 Optical Disks (Talking science with Craig Venter.) : DVD ; 70 min.

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English