Visit to J. Craig Venter Institute

Thursday evening promises to be an informative and fascinating look into the work of the J. Craig Venter Institute, a non-profit genomics research institute founded in 2006.  With more than 250 scientists and staff, more than 250,000 square feet of laboratory space, and locations in Rockville, Maryland and La Jolla, California, JCVI is a world leader in genomic research.

Craig Venter will kick off the presentations with an introduction and overview. We will hear brief presentations from three of their leading researchers on the following topics, followed by a tour of the working labs:

  • Dr. Orianna Bretschger, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), and her team of researchers are developing BioElectrochemical Sanitation Technologies (BEST) to provide sustainable sanitation and water recycling systems for individual homes and small communities in the developing world. The BEST program was established with funding from the Roddenberry Foundation.
  • Chris Dupont, Ph.D., Assistant Professor is one of the leading scientists of the Global Ocean Sampling (GOS) program at JCVI. Over the past 12 years, JCVI’s GOS expedition has explored the world’s oceans, along with major inland seas such as the Baltic and Mediterranean. This work, conducted from the deck of our research vessel, Sorcerer II, is the largest marine microbial study to date, discovering well over 100 million genes.   This year we are hoping to explore the unique and pristine waters surrounding Cuba.  The team plans to study a wide variety of marine protected areas (MPAs) found throughout the Caribbean Sea, the Florida Straits, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Sea of Cortez with the goal to profile the ecosystem health (at the microbial level) of the MPAs and then make policy recommendations for improved ocean management.
  • Dr. John Glass, Ph.D., Professor at the J. Craig Venter Institute. Dr. Glass is a Type 1 diabetic and, is researching novel new ways to treat and, hopefully, cure diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, 1.25 million American children and adults have Type 1 Diabetes (T1D).  Utilizing new advances in synthetic and cell biology, Dr. Glass is developing a living cellular lotion that once in contact with the skin of a diabetic patient senses glucose levels and delivers the appropriate amount of insulin, while avoiding recognition by the immune system.  If successful, Dr. Glass’ approach has the potential to address the complex and demanding treatment regimen TID patients of all ages face every day.

We will depart the hotel at 3:30pm, and return at approximately 6:30pm for a seated dinner at the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe.