Steven Benner, PhD, scientific consultant, is currently the founder and President of the Foundation For Applied Molecular Evolution, www.ffame.org.
Dr. Benner received his PhD in Chemistry from Harvard University after graduating in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University.
In 1991, he
helped found evolutionary bioinformatics, launched one of the first web-based bioinformatics servers with Gaston Gonnet, generated the first naturally organized protein sequence databases, and helped develop the MasterCatalog that generated ca. $4 million in sales.
established paleomolecular biology, where researchers resurrect ancestral proteins from extinct organisms for study in the laboratory.
invented dynamic combinatorial chemistry, combining ideas from molecular evolution, enzymology, analytical chemistry, and organic chemistry to generate a strategy to discover small molecule therapeutic leads.
initiated synthetic biology as a field : the Benner group was the first to synthesize a gene for an enzyme, and used organic synthesis to prepare the first artificial genetic systems, with outcomes actually applied in the therapy of HIV and hepatitis B & C. These systems also support the first artificial chemical system capable of Darwinian evolution.
career, Dr. Benner
was distinguished with many awards among which : the National Science Foundation
Graduate Fellow, the Anniversary Prize from the Federation of European Biochemical Societies
in 1993, the Nolan Summer Award in 1998, the B. R. Baker Award in 2001, and the Sigma Xi Senior
Faculty Award 2005.