The Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences welcomed pioneering scientific researcher J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., to campus on Nov. 13. Speaking to a crowd of nearly 400 members of the NSU community, Venter presented a talk on genomics titled “Life at the Speed of Light” as part of the college’s Distinguished Speakers Series.
Most known for his visionary contributions in sequencing the first draft human genome, first complete diploid genome, and construction of first synthetic bacterial cell, Venter has positively impacted human health and the treatment of disease.
During his keynote, Venter spoke on the process of “digitizing” DNA, which includes converting genetic code into binary code. Venter and his team employed this method in 1995, when they decoded the genome of the first free-living organism, the bacterium Haemophilus influenzae. He further explained this process to the audience, breaking down the team’s extensive work.
Venter also stressed the value of genomic sequencing. Potential benefits range from being able to determine where a person’s personality traits come from to better studying and understanding bacteria and diseases that affect humans.
Following the presentation, Venter led a Q&A session with audience members. The talk concluded with a book signing and a meet and greet. Venter’s latest book, Life at the Speed of Light, outlines the history and advances in the field of synthetic biology.
Prior to the evening’s events, Venter met with students from the Undergraduate Honors Program in a special seminar.
The Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences will welcome retired U.S. Army General David H. Petraeus, Ph.D., to NSU on Feb. 6. Gen. Petraeus served 37 years in the U.S. military, including as commander of coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and as commander of the U.S. Central Command. Following retirement from the military in August 2011, he served for 14 months as the director of the CIA. This Distinguished Speakers Series talk is free, although tickets are required.
Tuesday, Jan. 21: Tickets become available for Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences students, faculty, and staff members
Monday, Jan. 27: Tickets become available for NSU students, faculty, and staff members
Monday, Feb. 3: Tickets become available to the general public
Pick up tickets in the college’s Office of the Dean, located in the Mailman-Hollywood Building, second floor. Limit two (2) tickets per person. An NSU ID is required to obtain tickets for NSU students, faculty, and staff members. For more information, call (954) 262-8236.