Steven A. Benner

Dr. Steven A. Benner

Distinguished Fellow, Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution

Steven Benner heads the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution, which he founded after serving on the faculty at Harvard, ETH Zurich, and University of Florida. His research combines two traditions in science, one from natural history, the other from the physical sciences. In His laboratory has been a leader in the field of synthetic biology, where it has redesigned DNA to better understand how these molecules work, generate new classes of diagnostics tools, and to open new avenues to disease therapy. Separately, he also created the field of paleogenetics, where genes and proteins from now-extinct organisms are sesurrected to better understand how those proteins functioned in those organisms in changing environments. He has founded or contributed technology to a dozen different biotechnology companies, whose products include those that personalize the care of HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C patients, detect insect-borne pathogens, and monitor COVID. The work also guides NASA missions to see alien life and how life originated. His most recent book is: "Life, the Universe, and the Scientific Method."


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