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Animals can be an extremely useful resource in prolonging human lives and promoting general health. For example, there are organs in pigs that are similar to those of humans and resistant to disease and cancer. It is also possible to engineer wild animals that are immune to human disease and spread them through the wild, to ensure the downfall of common illnesses. Furthermore, by studying and reversing aging in mice and dogs, we could eventually reverse aging in human beings.

About the Speaker

George Church

George Church

George leads Synthetic Biology at the Wyss Institute, where he oversees the directed evolution of molecules, polymers, and whole genomes to create new tools with applications in regenerative medicine and bio-production of chemicals. Among his recent work at the Wyss is development of a technology for synthesizing whole genes, and engineering whole genomes, far faster, more accurate, and less costly than current methods. George is widely recognized for his innovative contributions to genomic science and his many pioneering contributions to chemistry and biomedicine. In 1984, he developed the first direct genomic sequencing method, which resulted in the first genome sequence (the human pathogen, H. pylori). He helped initiate the Human Genome Project in 1984 and the Personal Genome Project in 2005. George invented the broadly applied concepts of molecular multiplexing and tags, homologous recombination methods, and array DNA synthesizers. His many innovations have been the basis for a number of companies including Editas (Gene therapy); Gen9bio (Synthetic DNA); and Veritas Genetics (full human genome sequencing).

George is Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is Director of a U.S. Department of Energy Technology Center and a National Institutes of Health Center of Excellence in Genomic Science. His has received numerous awards including the 2011 Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science from the Franklin Institute and election to the National Academy of Sciences and Engineering.