John Glass, PhD

Director, La Jolla Campus

John Glass is a professor, leader of the JCVI Synthetic Biology Group, and La Jolla, CA Campus Director at the J. Craig Venter Institute. His expertise is in molecular biology, microbial pathogenesis, RNA virology, and microbial genomics. Dr. Glass is also an adjunct faculty member of the University of Maryland at College Park Cellular and Molecular Biology Program, and member of the Global Viral Network Scientific Leadership Board.

Dr. Glass is part of the Venter Institute team that created a synthetic bacterial cell. In reaching this milestone, the Venter Institute scientists developed the fundamental techniques of the new field of synthetic genomics including genome transplantation and genome assembly. Dr. Glass was also leader of the JCVI project that rapidly made synthetic influenza virus vaccine strains in collaboration with Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, Inc., and Synthetic Genomics, Inc. At the JCVI he has also led the bacterial outer membrane vesicle based vaccine, genome transplantation, and Mycoplasma genitalium minimal genome projects, and projects studying other mycoplasma and ureaplasma species. Glass and his Venter Institute colleagues are now using synthetic biology and synthetic genomics approaches developed at the JCVI to create cells and organelles with redesigned genomes to make microbes that can produce biofuels, pharmaceuticals, and industrially valuable molecules.

Prior to joining the JCVI, Dr. Glass spent five years in the Infectious Diseases Research Division of the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. There he directed a hepatitis C virology group and a microbial genomics group (1998-2003).

Dr. Glass earned his undergraduate (Biology) and graduate degrees (Genetics) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His PhD work was on RNA virus genetics in the laboratory of Gail Wertz. He was on the faculty and did postdoctoral fellowships in the Microbiology Department of the University of Alabama at Birmingham in polio virology with Casey Morrow and mycoplasma pathogenesis with Gail Cassell (1990-1998). On sabbatical leave in Ellison Chen’s lab at Applied Biosystems, Inc. (1995-1997) he sequenced the genome of Ureaplasma parvum and began his study of mycoplasma genomics.


ACS synthetic biology. 2024-04-19; 13.4: 974-997.
Building Synthetic Cells─From the Technology Infrastructure to Cellular Entities
Rothschild LJ, Averesch NJH, Strychalski EA, Moser F, Glass JI, Cruz Perez R, Yekinni IO, Rothschild-Mancinelli B, Roberts Kingman GA, Wu F, Waeterschoot J, Ioannou IA, Jewett MC, Liu AP, Noireaux V, Sorenson C, Adamala KP
PMID: 38530077
ACS synthetic biology. 2024-04-19; 13.4: 1128-1141.
Minimal Bacterial Cell JCVI-syn3B as a Chassis to Investigate Interactions between Bacteria and Mammalian Cells
Bittencourt DMC, Brown DM, Assad-Garcia N, Romero MR, Sun L, Palhares de Melo LAM, Freire M, Glass JI
PMID: 38507598
Science (New York, N.Y.). 2024-03-22; 383.6689: 1344-1349.
Efficient formation of single-copy human artificial chromosomes
Gambogi CW, Birchak GJ, Mer E, Brown DM, Yankson G, Kixmoeller K, Gavade JN, Espinoza JL, Kashyap P, Dupont CL, Logsdon GA, Heun P, Glass JI, Black BE
PMID: 38513017
iScience. 2023-09-15; 26.9: 107500.
Adaptive evolution of a minimal organism with a synthetic genome
Sandberg TE, Wise KS, Dalldorf C, Szubin R, Feist AM, Glass JI, Palsson BO
PMID: 37636038
Nature. 2023-07-05;
Evolution of a minimal cell
Moger-Reischer RZ, Glass JI, Wise KS, Sun L, Bittencourt DMC, Lehmkuhl BK, Schoolmaster DR, Lynch M, Lennon JT
PMID: 37407813
ACS synthetic biology. 2023-06-16; 12.6: 1616-1623.
Cell-Free Expression System Derived from a Near-Minimal Synthetic Bacterium
Sakai A, Jonker AJ, Nelissen FHT, Kalb EM, van Sluijs B, Heus HA, Adamala KP, Glass JI, Huck WTS
PMID: 37278603
Trends in cell biology. 2022-11-01; 32.11: 900-907.
Cellular mechanics during division of a genomically minimal cell
Pelletier JF, Glass JI, Strychalski EA
PMID: 35907702
The journal of physical chemistry. B. 2022-09-15; 126.36: 6820-6834.
Toward the Complete Functional Characterization of a Minimal Bacterial Proteome
Bianchi DM, Pelletier JF, Hutchison CA, Glass JI, Luthey-Schulten Z
PMID: 36048731
mBio. 2022-08-30; 13.4: e0163022.
Metabolite Damage and Damage Control in a Minimal Genome
Haas D, Thamm AM, Sun J, Huang L, Sun L, Beaudoin GAW, Wise KS, Lerma-Ortiz C, Bruner SD, Breuer M, Luthey-Schulten Z, Lin J, Wilson MA, Brown G, Yakunin AF, Kurilyak I, Folz J, Fiehn O, Glass JI, Hanson AD, Henry CS, de Crécy-Lagard V
PMID: 35862786
Cell. 2022-07-21; 185.15: 2708-2724.
Synthetic chromosomes, genomes, viruses, and cells
Venter JC, Glass JI, Hutchison CA, Vashee S
PMID: 35868275
Synthetic biology (Oxford, England). 2022-05-21; 7.1: ysac008.
Traditional protocols and optimization methods lead to absent expression in a mycoplasma cell-free gene expression platform
Sakai A, Deich CR, Nelissen FHT, Jonker AJ, Bittencourt DMC, Kempes CP, Wise KS, Heus HA, Huck WTS, Adamala KP, Glass JI
PMID: 35774105
mSystems. 2022-04-26; 7.2: e0146621.
High-Content Screening and Computational Prediction Reveal Viral Genes That Suppress the Innate Immune Response
Ng TL, Olson EJ, Yoo TY, Weiss HS, Koide Y, Koch PD, Rollins NJ, Mach P, Meisinger T, Bricken T, Chang TZ, Molloy C, Zürcher J, Chang RL, Mitchison TJ, Glass JI, Marks DS, Way JC, Silver PA
PMID: 35319251
Cell. 2022-01-20; 185.2: 345-360.e28.
Fundamental behaviors emerge from simulations of a living minimal cell
Thornburg ZR, Bianchi DM, Brier TA, Gilbert BR, Earnest TM, Melo MCR, Safronova N, Sáenz JP, Cook AT, Wise KS, Hutchison CA, Smith HO, Glass JI, Luthey-Schulten Z
PMID: 35063075
Cellular microbiology. 2021-12-01; 23.12: e13392.
Blockade of endoplasmic reticulum stress-induced cell death by Ureaplasma parvum vacuolating factor
Nishiumi F, Kawai Y, Nakura Y, Yoshimura M, Wu HN, Hamaguchi M, Kakizawa S, Suzuki Y, Glass JI, Yanagihara I
PMID: 34490709
Frontiers in molecular biosciences. 2021-07-22; 8.644133.
Generating Chromosome Geometries in a Minimal Cell From Cryo-Electron Tomograms and Chromosome Conformation Capture Maps
Gilbert BR, Thornburg ZR, Lam V, Rashid FM, Glass JI, Villa E, Dame RT, Luthey-Schulten Z
PMID: 34368224
Cell. 2021-04-29; 184.9: 2430-2440.e16.
Genetic requirements for cell division in a genomically minimal cell
Pelletier JF, Sun L, Wise KS, Assad-Garcia N, Karas BJ, Deerinck TJ, Ellisman MH, Mershin A, Gershenfeld N, Chuang RY, Glass JI, Strychalski EA
PMID: 33784496
Viruses. 2021-04-01; 13.4:
Rescue of Infectious Sindbis Virus by Yeast Spheroplast-Mammalian Cell Fusion
Ding L, Brown DM, Glass JI
PMID: 33916100
International journal of molecular sciences. 2020-09-26; 21.19:
Gross Chromosomal Rearrangements in Kluyveromyces marxianus Revealed by Illumina and Oxford Nanopore Sequencing
Ding L, Macdonald HD, Smith HO, Hutchison Iii CA, Merryman C, Michael TP, Abramson BW, Kannan K, Liang J, Gill J, Gibson DG, Glass JI
PMID: 32993167
Experimental cell research. 2020-03-15; 388.2: 111851.
Technology used to build and transfer mammalian chromosomes
Brown DM, Glass JI
PMID: 31952951
Frontiers in molecular biosciences. 2019-11-28; 6.130.
Kinetic Modeling of the Genetic Information Processes in a Minimal Cell
Thornburg ZR, Melo MCR, Bianchi D, Brier TA, Crotty C, Breuer M, Smith HO, Hutchison CA, Glass JI, Luthey-Schulten Z
PMID: 31850364
Journal of bacteriology. 2019-10-01; 201.19:
Polar Effects of Transposon Insertion into a Minimal Bacterial Genome
Hutchison CA, Merryman C, Sun L, Assad-Garcia N, Richter RA, Smith HO, Glass JI
PMID: 31262838
Microbiology (Reading, England). 2019-06-01; 165.6: 662-667.
Sialidase and N-acetylneuraminate catabolism in nutrition of Mycoplasma alligatoris
Michaels DL, Moneypenny CG, Shama SM, Leibowitz JA, May MA, Glass JI, Brown DR
PMID: 30422107
eLife. 2019-01-18; 8.
Essential metabolism for a minimal cell
Breuer M, Earnest TM, Merryman C, Wise KS, Sun L, Lynott MR, Hutchison CA, Smith HO, Lapek JD, Gonzalez DJ, de Crécy-Lagard V, Haas D, Hanson AD, Labhsetwar P, Glass JI, Luthey-Schulten Z
PMID: 30657448
ACS synthetic biology. 2019-01-15;
Direct transfer of a Mycoplasma mycoides genome to yeast is enhanced by removal of the mycoides glycerol uptake factor gene glpF
Karas BJ, Moreau N, Deernick TJ, Gibson DG, Venter JC, Smith H, Glass J
PMID: 30645947
ACS synthetic biology. 2018-06-15; 7.6: 1538-1552.
Tuning Gene Activity by Inducible and Targeted Regulation of Gene Expression in Minimal Bacterial Cells
Mariscal AM, Kakizawa S, Hsu JY, Tanaka K, González-González L, Broto A, Querol E, Lluch-Senar M, Piñero-Lambea C, Sun L, Weyman PD, Wise KS, Merryman C, Tse G, Moore AJ, Hutchison CA, Smith HO, Tomita M, Venter JC, Glass JI, Piñol J, Suzuki Y
PMID: 29786424
Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology. 2017-12-01; 9.12:
Minimal Cells-Real and Imagined
Glass JI, Merryman C, Wise KS, Hutchison CA, Smith HO
PMID: 28348033
Scientific reports. 2016-08-04; 6.30714.
One step engineering of the small-subunit ribosomal RNA using CRISPR/Cas9
Kannan K, Tsvetanova B, Chuang RY, Noskov VN, Assad-Garcia N, Ma L, Hutchison Iii CA, Smith HO, Glass JI, Merryman C, Venter JC, Gibson DG
PMID: 27489041
Science (New York, N.Y.). 2016-03-25; 351.6280: aad6253.
Design and synthesis of a minimal bacterial genome
Hutchison CA, Chuang RY, Noskov VN, Assad-Garcia N, Deerinck TJ, Ellisman MH, Gill J, Kannan K, Karas BJ, Ma L, Pelletier JF, Qi ZQ, Richter RA, Strychalski EA, Sun L, Suzuki Y, Tsvetanova B, Wise KS, Smith HO, Glass JI, Merryman C, Gibson DG, Venter JC
PMID: 27013737
Genome research. 2015-03-01; 25.3: 435-44.
Bacterial genome reduction using the progressive clustering of deletions via yeast sexual cycling
Suzuki Y, Assad-Garcia N, Kostylev M, Noskov VN, Wise KS, Karas BJ, Stam J, Montague MG, Hanly TJ, Enriquez NJ, Ramon A, Goldgof GM, Richter RA, Vashee S, Chuang RY, Winzeler EA, Hutchison CA, Gibson DG, Smith HO, Glass JI, Venter JC
PMID: 25654978
International journal of medical microbiology : IJMM. 2014-11-01; 304.8: 1218-25.
Random insertion and gene disruption via transposon mutagenesis of Ureaplasma parvum using a mini-transposon plasmid
Aboklaish AF, Dordet-Frisoni E, Citti C, Toleman MA, Glass JI, Spiller OB
PMID: 25444567
Nature protocols. 2014-04-01; 9.4: 743-50.
Transferring whole genomes from bacteria to yeast spheroplasts using entire bacterial cells to reduce DNA shearing
Karas BJ, Jablanovic J, Irvine E, Sun L, Ma L, Weyman PD, Gibson DG, Glass JI, Venter JC, Hutchison CA, Smith HO, Suzuki Y
PMID: 24603933
Science (New York, N.Y.). 2014-02-07; 343.6171: 656-661.
A structurally distinct human mycoplasma protein that generically blocks antigen-antibody union
Grover RK, Zhu X, Nieusma T, Jones T, Boreo I, Boero I, MacLeod AS, Mark A, Niessen S, Kim HJ, Kong L, Assad-Garcia N, Kwon K, Chesi M, Smider VV, Salomon DR, Jelinek DF, Kyle RA, Pyles RB, Glass JI, Ward AB, Wilson IA, Lerner RA
PMID: 24503852
Frontiers in microbiology. 2014-01-01; 5.369.
Rescue of mutant fitness defects using in vitro reconstituted designer transposons in Mycoplasma mycoides
Karas BJ, Wise KS, Sun L, Venter JC, Glass JI, Hutchison CA, Smith HO, Suzuki Y
PMID: 25101070
Journal of biological engineering. 2013-12-10; 7.1: 30.
Assembly of eukaryotic algal chromosomes in yeast
Karas BJ, Molparia B, Jablanovic J, Hermann WJ, Lin YC, Dupont CL, Tagwerker C, Yonemoto IT, Noskov VN, Chuang RY, Allen AE, Glass JI, Hutchison CA, Smith HO, Venter JC, Weyman PD
PMID: 24325901
Nature methods. 2013-05-01; 10.5: 410-2.
Direct transfer of whole genomes from bacteria to yeast
Karas BJ, Jablanovic J, Sun L, Ma L, Goldgof GM, Stam J, Ramon A, Manary MJ, Winzeler EA, Venter JC, Weyman PD, Gibson DG, Glass JI, Hutchison CA, Smith HO, Suzuki Y
PMID: 23542886
Nucleic acids research. 2012-11-01; 40.20: 10375-83.
Sequence analysis of a complete 1.66 Mb Prochlorococcus marinus MED4 genome cloned in yeast
Tagwerker C, Dupont CL, Karas BJ, Ma L, Chuang RY, Benders GA, Ramon A, Novotny M, Montague MG, Venepally P, Brami D, Schwartz A, Andrews-Pfannkoch C, Gibson DG, Glass JI, Smith HO, Venter JC, Hutchison CA
PMID: 22941652
ACS synthetic biology. 2012-07-20; 1.7: 267-73.
Assembly of large, high G+C bacterial DNA fragments in yeast
Noskov VN, Karas BJ, Young L, Chuang RY, Gibson DG, Lin YC, Stam J, Yonemoto IT, Suzuki Y, Andrews-Pfannkoch C, Glass JI, Smith HO, Hutchison CA, Venter JC, Weyman PD
PMID: 23651249
Science (New York, N.Y.). 2010-07-02; 329.5987: 52-6.
Creation of a bacterial cell controlled by a chemically synthesized genome
Gibson DG, Glass JI, Lartigue C, Noskov VN, Chuang RY, Algire MA, Benders GA, Montague MG, Ma L, Moodie MM, Merryman C, Vashee S, Krishnakumar R, Assad-Garcia N, Andrews-Pfannkoch C, Denisova EA, Young L, Qi ZQ, Segall-Shapiro TH, Calvey CH, Parmar PP, Hutchison CA, Smith HO, Venter JC
PMID: 20488990
Nucleic acids research. 2010-05-01; 38.8: 2558-69.
Cloning whole bacterial genomes in yeast
Benders GA, Noskov VN, Denisova EA, Lartigue C, Gibson DG, Assad-Garcia N, Chuang RY, Carrera W, Moodie M, Algire MA, Phan Q, Alperovich N, Vashee S, Merryman C, Venter JC, Smith HO, Glass JI, Hutchison CA
PMID: 20211840
Science (New York, N.Y.). 2009-09-25; 325.5948: 1693-6.
Creating bacterial strains from genomes that have been cloned and engineered in yeast
Lartigue C, Vashee S, Algire MA, Chuang RY, Benders GA, Ma L, Noskov VN, Denisova EA, Gibson DG, Assad-Garcia N, Alperovich N, Thomas DW, Merryman C, Hutchison CA, Smith HO, Venter JC, Glass JI
PMID: 19696314
Molecular systems biology. 2009-01-01; 5.330.
A systems biology tour de force for a near-minimal bacterium
Glass JI, Hutchison CA, Smith HO, Venter JC
PMID: 19953084
Science (New York, N.Y.). 2008-02-29; 319.5867: 1215-20.
Complete chemical synthesis, assembly, and cloning of a Mycoplasma genitalium genome
Gibson DG, Benders GA, Andrews-Pfannkoch C, Denisova EA, Baden-Tillson H, Zaveri J, Stockwell TB, Brownley A, Thomas DW, Algire MA, Merryman C, Young L, Noskov VN, Glass JI, Venter JC, Hutchison CA, Smith HO
PMID: 18218864
PloS one. 2008-01-23; 3.1: e1456.
The Sorcerer II Global Ocean Sampling Expedition: metagenomic characterization of viruses within aquatic microbial samples
Williamson SJ, Rusch DB, Yooseph S, Halpern AL, Heidelberg KB, Glass JI, Andrews-Pfannkoch C, Fadrosh D, Miller CS, Sutton G, Frazier M, Venter JC
PMID: 18213365
Science (New York, N.Y.). 2007-08-03; 317.5838: 632-8.
Genome transplantation in bacteria: changing one species to another
Lartigue C, Glass JI, Alperovich N, Pieper R, Parmar PP, Hutchison CA, Smith HO, Venter JC
PMID: 17600181
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2006-01-10; 103.2: 425-30.
Essential genes of a minimal bacterium
Glass JI, Assad-Garcia N, Alperovich N, Yooseph S, Lewis MR, Maruf M, Hutchison CA, Smith HO, Venter JC
PMID: 16407165
Journal of interferon & cytokine research : the official journal of the International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research. 2003-05-01; 23.5: 247-57.
Synergistic antiviral activity of human interferon combinations in the hepatitis C virus replicon system
Larkin J, Jin L, Farmen M, Venable D, Huang Y, Tan SL, Glass JI
PMID: 12804067
Nature. 2000-10-12; 407.6805: 757-62.
The complete sequence of the mucosal pathogen Ureaplasma urealyticum
Glass JI, Lefkowitz EJ, Glass JS, Heiner CR, Chen EY, Cassell GH
PMID: 11048724

No More Needles!

Transforming the Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes


No More Needles! Using Microbiome and Synthetic Biology Advances to Better Treat Type 1 Diabetes
Dr. John Glass on NSF Awards for "Understanding the Rules of Life"

Tae Seok Moon, Ph.D. and Nan Zhu, Ph.D. join J. Craig Venter Institute faculty

JCVI continues to actively recruit faculty to expand core research areas, including human health and synthetic biology

Press Release

Scientists develop method to efficiently construct single-copy human artificial chromosomes (HACs)

This new tool will allow scientists to work in mammalian systems in ways only previously available in bacteria and yeast

HACs have wide potential research applications to synthetic biologists and may eventually aid in delivering DNA in clinical applications

Workshop Alert

12th Build-a-Cell Workshop hosted at J. Craig Venter Institute in La Jolla

The workshop will take place March 29, 2024 with registration closing March 19

Collaborator Release

Bringing cells to life … and to Minecraft: $30 million NSF grant to support whole-cell modeling at the Beckman Institute

Beckman researchers and collaborators received $30 million from the U.S. National Science Foundation to establish the NSF Science and Technology Center for Quantitative Cell Biology. The center will develop whole-cell models to transform our understanding of how cells function and share that knowledge with diverse communities through the popular computer game Minecraft.


Lessons from the Minimal Cell

“Despite reducing the sequence space of possible trajectories, we conclude that streamlining does not constrain fitness evolution and diversification of populations over time. Genome minimization may even create opportunities for evolutionary exploitation of essential genes, which are commonly observed to evolve more slowly.”

Quanta Magazine

Even Synthetic Life Forms With a Tiny Genome Can Evolve

By watching “minimal” cells regain the fitness they lost, researchers are testing whether a genome can be too simple to evolve.

Big Biology Podcast

Synthesizing life on the planet

What’s the smallest number of genes that cells need to grow and reproduce? Is it possible to synthesize minimal genomes and insert them into cells? What do minimal genomes teach us about life? An interview with John Glass, Ph.D.

Press Release

Synthetic genomics advances and promise

Advances in DNA synthesis will enable extraordinary new opportunities in medicine, industry, agriculture, and research

Press Release

Scientists develop most complete whole-cell computer simulation model of cell to date

J. Craig Venter Institute model organism-minimal cell platform provides robust tools for exploring first principles of life, design tools for genome

Press Release

Genes necessary for cell division in modern bacterial cells identified

Discovery may help shape understanding of primitive cell division

Collaborator Release

NSF announces new awards for Understanding the Rules of Life

New projects address genetic, environmental causality in biological systems and processes

Press Release

JCVI Scientists Publish First Bacterial Genome Transplantation Changing One Species to Another

Research is important step in further advancing field of synthetic genomics