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Steven A. Benner

Professor of Chemistry

University of Florida

HQ Phone:  (904) 588-1800


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I agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand that I will receive a subscription to ZoomInfo Community Edition at no charge in exchange for downloading and installing the ZoomInfo Contact Contributor utility which, among other features, involves sharing my business contacts as well as headers and signature blocks from emails that I receive.

University of Florida

2015 North Jefferson Street

Jacksonville, Florida,32206

United States

Company Description

The University of Florida prides itself on its research facilities and encourages all students to partake, even during their freshman and sophomore years. For the 2015-2016 school year, UF received a record $724 million in funding for research projects. The sc...more

Background Information

Employment History


Regeneration Technologies , Inc.

Professor of Organic Chemistry

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology

Planet Flipside


Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution


Westheimer Institute for Science and Technology


Serious Science



Scientific Board Member

National Science Foundation

Graduate Fellow

Gordon Research Conferences incorporated

Board of Trustees Member

IBC USA Conferences , Inc.

Scientific Advisory Board Member

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)


Team Titan



Branford College


Babbage Lecture Theatre

Cambridge University

BS Degree


Honoris Causa honorary doctorate

University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Craiova

MS degree

Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry



The Westheimer Institute for Science and Technology






University of Florida

Web References(198 Total References)

ICAMSR - Rebuttal to Dr. Zubrin's comments in the Planetary Report

icamsr.org [cached]

However, since the time the NASA Antaeus Report was written, increasing evidence for life on Mars has been accumulating such as the recent discovery by Dr. Steven Benner of the University of Florida's Department of Chemistry.
Benner published a paper in the PNAS journal citing the inability of the Viking GCMS to find organics on Mars in 1976. Benner says the GCMS could have missed organic matter he believes must be in the Martian soil from meteorites. He says any organic molecules derived from life processes could also have been missed. Dr. Benner's paper in PNAS is now supporting evidence of a flawed Viking GCMS.

CarlZimmer.com: Articles

www.carlzimmer.com [cached]

Dr. Steven A. Benner is bracing for what could be a spectacular year.
When the Huygens mission parachutes into the hazy skies of Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, he will be among the researchers anxiously awaiting a report. After several days, Dr. Benner and his colleagues will receive the Huygens measurements of Titan's chemical composition. They will comb through the data to see whether the moon harbors life. But Dr. Benner, a professor of chemistry at the University of Florida, will not limit his search to familiar life forms of the sort that exist on Earth. He is casting a wider net, in hopes of discovering creatures that defy conventional biology -- what Dr. Benner calls ''weird life.'' For the last year, Dr. Benner has been on a National Academy of Sciences committee that is considering just how weird extraterrestrial life might be. The official title of the committee's project is ''The Limits of Organic Life of Planetary Systems.'' Weird life could conceivably be lurking on several planets and moons in the solar system, including Earth, and the Titan mission is providing Dr. Benner and his colleagues with the first good search opportunity. The challenge is knowing what to look for. ''My job,'' he said, ''is figuring out what kind of signals would be detectable if we don't encounter life as we know it on Earth -- or a green man with a ray gun who shoots at us.'' Dr. Benner's coming work is the latest chapter in a career dedicated to examining the boundaries of life. Life on Earth, despite its diversity, obeys certain rules. ''If I get rid of my need to make proteins,'' Dr. Benner said, ''I can get down to very small sizes and I can go live in a very small hole.'' Dr. Benner is planning a search for RNA-based life in rocks known as zeolites. They are rich in water but also have extremely small pores. ''I have a shelf full of them,'' he said. But Dr. Benner also says life could theoretically take even more exotic forms. His suspicion emerges from experiments he and other scientists have carried out on DNA, seeing how far they can alter the molecule without destroying its ability to store genetic information. ''When you start with DNA,'' he said, ''you just look at that structure and ask how can you change it.'' In ordinary DNA, genetic information is encoded in an alphabet of four ''letters'' known as bases. In manipulating DNA molecules, Dr. Benner and other researchers have increased the genetic alphabet to 12 letters. Another important part of DNA is its backbone. Each molecule has two backbones, like the sides of a ladder, that are made of repeating clusters of phosphorus and oxygen atoms. Experiments in Dr. Benner's lab suggest that the advantage of DNA's backbone is that each cluster has a negative charge. All known life needs water to survive, but as Dr. Benner pointed out in the December issue of Current Opinion in Chemical Biology, life could conceivably exist without it. Water, for all its virtues, has drawbacks. ''Water attacks DNA and causes it to fall apart,'' he said. ''Your body has got all sorts of enzymes that are constantly running around fixing the damage that water has done.'' Other liquids do not pose such risks, and Dr. Benner theorizes that they might be able to support life as well. Particularly promising, in his opinion, are liquid hydrocarbons like methane and propane that do a good job of dissolving organic compounds. ''You are not going to have that structure on Titan,'' Dr. Benner said, referring to DNA. ''And that's period.'' Dr. Benner said he thought he and his colleagues might be able to wrest clues about the presence of life from the data. ''It will require a little cooperation from the life on Titan,'' he said. If life exists on Titan, Dr. Benner cannot say what it eats or how it metabolizes food. But he predicts that the organisms would produce a distinctive series of molecules through a long series of reactions. Identifying such a signature of life would take a long time, he predicted. ''It's going to go on for months,'' he said. ''You'll see us squirreled up in laboratories and libraries being our typically nerdy selves, trying to figure out what this data means.''

Pr Steven A. Benner - Aptamers in Bordeaux - June 24-25 2016 - International Conference on Aptamer Biology, Chemistry and Technology

www.aptamers-in-bordeaux.com [cached]

Steven Benner
Steven Benner is a Distinguished Fellow at the Westheimer Institute within the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution, which he founded after serving on the faculty at Harvard, the ETH, and the University of Florida. He received his B.S. and M.S. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale in 1976, and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Harvard in 1979. His research combines the physical sciences with natural history. He has contributed to the emerging fields of synthetic biology, paleogenetics, evolutionary bioinformatics, planetary biology and astrobiology. His most recent book is: "Life, the Universe, and the Scientific Method."

Sichuan Deebio Pharmaceutical Co.,LTD. - Heparin Sodium,Chondroitin Sulfate,Gastric mucin,Pancreatin,Pepsin,Chymotrypsin,Trypsin,Trypsin-Chymotrypsin,Pancreatic Kininogenase,Elastase,Hesperidin,Cytochrome C solution

www.deebio.com [cached]

In a second study, Steven Benner of the University of Florida in Gainesville and colleagues used an enzyme made by HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, to do the same job.

Searle Scholars Program : Steven A. Benner (1984)

www.searlescholars.net [cached]

Steven A. Benner
Searle Scholars Program : Steven A. Benner (1984) Steven A. Benner Distinguished Fellow The Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution 720 SW 2nd Avenue PO Box 13174 Gainesville, FL 32604 Voice: 352 271-7005 Email: sbenner@ffame.org

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