Scripps Institution of Oceanography Honors Genome Code Breaker J. Craig Venter in Public Ceremony and Lecture June 20th

J. Craig Venter selected as recipient of the 2007 Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest

Imagine a future in which your physician writes a prescription for a drug made to your exact genetic specifications. Imagine genetically engineered bacteria being used to clean up toxic chemical spills. Imagine being able to diagnose the health of the oceans by analyzing the genetic makeup of a microorganism.

Thanks to genomics visionary J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., leader of the Human Genome Project that successfully sequenced human DNA in 2000, all this could become a reality very soon.

A 1975 graduate of UC San Diego, Venter is returning to his roots to accept the seventh annual Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego on Wednesday, June 20, 2007. An award ceremony followed by a lecture by Dr. Venter will begin at 7 p.m. at The Forum Theater of the La Jolla Playhouse on the UC San Diego campus, located at 2910 LJ Village Drive, La Jolla. The event is free to the public, however parking is limited.

Awarded annually by Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest was created to honor the memory of William A. Nierenberg, who was director of UC San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography for 20 years (1965-1986). The award is supported through gifts from the Nierenberg Family.

A bronze medal and a $25,000 prize are awarded each year for outstanding contributions to science in the public interest.

Venter, who founded the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) in October 2006 headquartered in Rockville, MD, is the first person on the planet to have his genome sequenced - as well as that of his dog, Shadow.

Since then, Venter has expanded his genomic interests by attempting to cure our dependence on oil by finding fuel alternatives using microbes. He has done so while mapping the oceans in a recent Darwinesque two-and-a-half year global, circumnavigation expedition known as the Global Ocean Sampling Expedition aboard his sailboat, Sorcerer II.

About Scripps Oceanography

Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego is one of the world’s most important centers for global earth science research and education. In its second century of discovery, Scripps scientists work to understand and protect the planet, and investigate our oceans, Earth, and atmosphere to find solutions to our greatest environmental challenges. Scripps offers unparalleled education and training for the next generation of scientific and environmental leaders through its undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs. The institution also operates a fleet of four oceanographic research vessels, and is home to Birch Aquarium at Scripps, the public exploration center that welcomes 500,000 visitors each year.

About UC San Diego

At the University of California San Diego, we embrace a culture of exploration and experimentation. Established in 1960, UC San Diego has been shaped by exceptional scholars who aren’t afraid to look deeper, challenge expectations and redefine conventional wisdom. As one of the top 15 research universities in the world, we are driving innovation and change to advance society, propel economic growth and make our world a better place. Learn more at

Sign Up For
Explorations Now

explorations now is the free award-winning digital science magazine from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Join subscribers from around the world and keep up on our cutting-edge research.