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George Church (August 28, 1954- ) is an American molecular geneticist. He is currently Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical Schoolmarker and Professor of Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard and MITmarker.

With Walter Gilbert he developed the first direct genomic sequencing method in 1984 and helped initiate the Human Genome Project in 1984 while he was a Research Scientist at newly-formed Biogen Inc. He invented the broadly-applied concepts of molecular multiplexing and tags, homologous recombination methods, and DNA array synthesizers. Technology transfer of automated sequencing & software to Genome Therapeutics Corp. resulted in the first commercial genome sequence, (the human pathogen, Helicobacter pylori) in 1994.

He initiated the Personal Genome Project (PGP) in 2005 and research on synthetic biology. He is director of the U.S. Department of Energy Center on Bioenergy at Harvard & MIT and director of the National Institutes of Healthmarker (NHGRI) Center of Excellence in Genomic Science at Harvard, MIT & Washington University.

He has been advisor to 22 companies, most recently co-founding (with Joseph Jacobson, Jay Keasling, and Drew Endy) Codon Devices, a biotech startup dedicated to synthetic biology. With their proprietary BioFAB platform, Codon Devices produces the DNA or protein sequences anybody orders. With Chris Somerville he founded LS9, which is focused on biofuels or renewable petroleum technologies. He is a senior editor for Nature EMBO Molecular Systems Biology.

In March 2009 Church and his team synthesised the first artificial Ribosome. Using the bacteria E. coli, Church and research Fellow Michael Jewett extracted the bacteria’s natural ribosomes, broke them down into their constituent parts, removed the key ribosomal RNA and then synthesized the ribosomal RNA anew from molecules.


  1. HMS Genetics Faculty
  2. HST
  3. [1]
  4. DOE Genomes to Life Center
  5. Centers of Excellence in Genomic Science Awards
  6. [2]
  7. San Francisco Business Times - March 12, 2007
  8. [3]

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