The Life Hacker

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  02 Sep 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6047, pp. 1236-1237
DOI: 10.1126/science.333.6047.1236

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


Synthetic biology, with its goal of reengineering cells as industrial machines, is the epitome of ambition. But even in a field of risk-takers, Harvard University's George Church stands out. And Church's scientific risk-taking has paid off. He is one of four scientists sharing a $20 million grant from the U.S. National Institutes of Health to develop efficient ways to change the genetic makeup of stem cells as a way of treating disease. Church has also helped to create or guide more than two dozen start-up companies and generated 34 biotechnology patents himself. But whether Church can pull off his most ambitious experiment—reinventing the genetic code—is another question. If he succeeds, biotechnology will have a new workhorse cell. And the planet will have a novel life form.