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Daniel Gibson, BS '99

George W. Thorn Award

By Barbara A. Byers

Release Date: March 20, 2012

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Daniel Gibson

Daniel Gibson began his career in research as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Scholar in Undergraduate Research while he was pursuing his bachelor of science degree in biological sciences at UB.

He joined Synthetic Genomics Inc. in 2011 as principal scientist, and is also an associate professor in the synthetic biology group at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI). Since joining the JCVI as a postdoctoral researcher in 2004, Gibson synthesized two complete bacterial chromosomes. Those projects resulted in creation of the first synthetic bacterial cell and development of an enabling suite of DNA synthesis and assembly methods, including Gibson Assembly, which is now being used in laboratories around the world.

These approaches open up a range of innovative and, ultimately, very useful real-world applications, including the design of new cells that can much more efficiently capture carbon dioxide and incorporate the carbon into new fuel molecules, new food oils and new biologically derived sources of plastic and chemicals. They also have the potential to accelerate vaccine development and the production of antibiotics.

In addition to his UB degree, Gibson earned his PhD in molecular biology from the University of Southern California. While there, he used yeast as the model system for studying cell cycle surveillance mechanisms (checkpoints), which are significant in the understanding of cancer development. Gibson lives in La Jolla, Calif.