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George Church is Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and a founder of LS9. Dr. Church directs one of the first funded genome technology centers since 1987 - now a DOE GTL systems biology center focused on photosynthesis and biofuels. He is director of an NIH Center for Excellence in Genome Science and co-founder of the Whitehead genome center - now the Broad Institute of Harvard & MIT.
He is senior editor of Nature-EMBO Molecular Systems Biology. His PhD from Harvard in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology with Wally Gilbert included the first direct genomic sequencing method in 1984. He helped initiate the Human Genome Project while a Research Scientist at newly-formed Biogen Inc. He has also pioneered genome engineering, systems and synthetic biology, and concepts of molecular multiplexing and tags, with a record of accomplishment in developing and transferring new technologies to over 20 companies - leading e.g., to the first commercial genome sequence at GTC (H. pylori in 1994) and to "next-generation" sequencing technologies, including Agencourt-Applied Biosystems, Solexa-Illumina, 454-Roche, Helicos, Complete Genomics, and Intelligent Bio-Systems.
Dr. Church helped start Codon Devices focused on synthetic biology and Genomatica focused on metabolic systems engineering. He holds degrees from Duke University in Chemistry and Zoology and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology from Harvard University.
Chris Somerville is Director of the Energy Biosciences Institute and a professor of plant and microbial biology at the University of California Berkeley, and a founder of LS9. Dr. Somerville has pioneered the use of the small mustard plant,Arabidopsis thaliana, as a model species for plant molecular genetics. The areas of his research contributions include plant genomics, lipid metabolism, polyalkanoate synthesis, and polysaccharide synthesis.
Dr. Somerville is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the Royal Society of London and the Royal Society of Canada. He has received the Alexander von Humboldt U.S. Senior Scientist Award, a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation and the Charles F. Schull Award, the Gibbs Medal from the American Society of Plant Physiology, and the 2006 Balzan Prize in Plant Molecular Genetics. He has been awarded honorary degrees from Queens University, Wageningen University, Guelph University, and the University of Alberta
Dr. Somerville is on numerous editorial boards, and has served on various advisory panels for the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the US Department of Agriculture and other agencies and institutions. He has also served as a consultant to many companies including Unilever, DuPont, Monsanto, Eli Lilly, Pioneer, and Dow. He was a founder of Mendel Biotechnology and served as chairman of the board from 1997-2007. Dr. Somerville received his B.Sc. in mathematics and Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of Alberta.
Flagship Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm focused on creating, financing, and building innovative companies in the life science and technology sectors. Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Flagship Ventures was founded in 1999 and manages $700 million in capital. Prior to its founding, Flagship's principals were involved as founders or investors in over 100 firms including: Adolor, AltaVista, Anesta, Antigenics, Aspect Medical, Astral Point, Celera Genomics, ChemGenics Pharmaceuticals, Color Kinetics, Chantry Networks, Cytyc, DataSage, Exact Sciences, IDEXX, PerSeptive Biosystems, Somatogen, Telecorp PCS and TripAdvisor.
Khosla Ventures offers venture assistance, strategic advice and capital to entrepreneurs. The firm helps entrepreneurs extend the potential of the Internet to new markets such as mobile and supports breakthrough scientific work such as bio refineries. Vinod Khosla founded the firm in 2004 and was joined in 2006 by two partners. The partners have been involved in founding or growing billion dollar businesses such as Sun Microsystems, Juniper Networks and AOL. Mr. Khosla has been labeled the #1 VC multiple times by Forbes and Fortune recently labeled him as one of the nation's most influential renewable fuel advocates, noting "there are venture capitalists, and then there's Vinod Khosla." The firm's capital comes entirely from its own partners and a portion of all profits are donated to charitable causes, with an emphasis on micro-finance, education, the environment and affordable housing. Khosla Ventures is based in Menlo Park, California.
Jay D. Keasling
Dr. Jay D. Keasling is a Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley and a founder of LS9. He is also Associate Laboratory Director for Biosciences at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Founding Head of the Synthetic Biology Department in the Physical Biosciences Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and chief executive officer of the Joint BioEnergy Institute. He is considered one of the foremost authorities in synthetic biology, especially in the field of metabolic engineering.