The 2009 American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Promega Biotechnology Research Award is being presented to George M. Church, Ph.D., professor of genetics, Harvard Medical School, and director of the Lipper Center for Computational Genetics in Boston. This award recognizes outstanding contributions to the application of biotechnology through fundamental microbiological research and development.
Described as a "truly unique" and "extraordinarily creative" scientist, Dr. Church's forward thinking and wide-range of interests have resulted in numerous new technologies that have led to major advances in the microbiological sciences. He earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University and for three decades, he has been a leader in biotechnology and its application. The original methods for DNA sequencing were invented in 1977. In 1984, Church proposed "multiplex sequencing." A radical alternative, it was a manual, highly parallel sequencing method that was more productive than current methods. This technology, though never industrialized, was used to sequence the first microbial genome, Helicobacter pylori and the archaeal genome, Methanobacterium theimactotrophicum.
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