Smarr, Venter Bring Cutting-Edge Science to CONNECT Venture Capital Community

By Nancy Van Dillen, CONNECT Program Director

San Diego, CA, August 9, 2006 -- On July 31, the venture-capital community gathered at Calit2 for a special edition of the CONNECT Venture Affiliates program featuring a presentation by Craig Venter, Ph.D. of the J. Craig Venter Institute and Larry Smarr, director of Calit2. The highlight of the evening reception, sponsored by Morrison & Foerster and Enterprise Partners Venture Capital, was a presentation by the two world-renowned scientists on their high-profile collaboration, the CAMERA project.

Craig Venter
J. Craig Venter addresses the San Diego venture-capital community. To watch streaming video of his talk, click here or on the photo above. Length: 29:42
[Real player and broadband connection required ]

CAMERA, which stands for Community Cyberinfrastructure for Advanced Marine Microbial Ecology Research and Analysis, is an endeavor to build a state-of-the-art computational resource and develop software tools that will decipher the genetic code of microbial communities in oceans around the world. This high-performance computational collaboratory that supports metagenomics research – analyzing microbial genomic sequence data in the larger context of microbe communities and the environmental metadata associated with the sequence data – was awarded a $24.5 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in January 2006. The project utilizes the OptIPuter model developed by Calit2 and teams the organization with other renowned institutions including the Maryland-based Venter Institute, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and the San Diego Supercomputer Center.

Larry Smarr
Larry Smarr shows the way to building cyberinfrastructure to support Venter's ambitious push into metagenomics. To watch streaming video of his talk, click here  or on the photo above. Length: 20:48
“The state of the art science resulting from the CAMERA project has enormous potential for the San Diego business community,” says Duane Roth, CEO of CONNECT. “This research will not only lead to scientific breakthroughs on a global scale but will likely produce future businesses and commercial applications developed here in San Diego.”

Calit2's Smarr is also the Harry E. Gruber professor in the Jacobs School’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering at UCSD, and Principal Investigator on the CAMERA grant. Dr. Smarr is also PI on the NSF OptIPuter LambdaGrid project and co-PI on the NSF LOOKING ocean observatory prototype. As founding director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and the National Computational Science Alliance, Smarr drove major contributions to the development of the national high-performance computing infrastructure, the Internet, the Web, the emerging Grid, and scientific visualization. Recently, he has become a member of the Networking and Information Technology Advisory Group to provide input and feedback to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, which is undertaking a review of the Federal Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program.

Larry Smarr and Duane Roth
Calit2's Larry Smarr (left) speaks with CONNECT CEO Duane Roth before the presentation to venture capital executives.
Craig Venter is founder and president of the J. Craig Venter Institute and the J. Craig Venter Science Foundation, not-for-profit, research and support organizations dedicated to human genomic research. Additionally,Dr. Venter is founder and chairman of the not-for-profit organization The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) and the for-profit company Synthetic Genomics. In 1984 while at the National Institutes of Health campus, he developed expressed sequence tags or EST’s, a revolutionary new strategy for gene discovery. In 1992, he founded The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR). There he and his team decoded the genome of the first free-living organism, the bacterium Haemophilus influenzae, using his new whole genome shotgun technique. TIGR has sequenced more than 50 genomes to date using Dr. Venter’s techniques.

[This article appeared in the August 9 edition of the CONNECT Newsletter, and is reprinted by permission.]

Related Links

CONNECT Venture Affiliates Program

Related Projects
Community Cyberinfrastructure for Advanced Marine Microbial Ecology Research and Analysis