Press Release

JCVI President, Karen Nelson Elected to National Academy of Sciences

(LA JOLLA, CA)—May 3, 2017—The J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) announced today that Karen E. Nelson, Institute President and Head of Microbiome Research, has been elected as a new member to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Nelson was one of the 84 new members and 21 foreign associates elected in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

Those elected today bring the total number of active members to 2,290 and the total number of foreign associates to 475. Foreign associates are nonvoting members of the Academy, with citizenship outside the United States. Other JCVI NAS members are J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., Hamilton O. Smith, M.D., and Clyde Hutchison, Ph.D.

“We are so pleased that Karen has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of her seminal work in microbial and human microbiome work,” said Dr. Venter, Founder, Executive Chairman, and CEO, JCVI.

 “It is an honor for me to be part of this exceptional group of scientists at the National Academies which includes JCVI mentors and colleagues Venter, Smith and Hutchinson. I would not have achieved this success without these individuals and the entire JCVI team,” said Nelson.

In addition to being an elected member of the NAS she serves on their Board of Life Sciences. Other honors include being named ARCS Scientist of the Year 2017; a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology; an Honorary Professor at the University of the West Indies; and a Helmholtz International Fellow.

Dr. Nelson has extensive experience in microbial ecology, microbial genomics, microbial physiology and metagenomics. Dr. Nelson has led several genomic and metagenomic efforts, and led the first human metagenomics study that was published in 2006. Additional ongoing studies in her group include metagenomic approaches to study the ecology of the gastrointestinal tract of humans and animals, studies on the relationship between the microbiome and various human and animal disease conditions, reference genome sequencing and analysis primarily for the human body, and other -omics studies. She has authored or co-authored over 170 peer reviewed publications, edited three books, and is currently Editor-in-Chief of the journal Microbial Ecology. She also serves on the Editorial Boards of BMC Genomics, GigaScience, and the Central European Journal of Biology.

Nelson has been JCVI President since 2012. Prior to being appointed President, she held several other positions at the Institute, including Director of JCVI's Rockville Campus, and Director of Human Microbiology and Metagenomics in the Department of Human Genomic Medicine at JCVI. Nelson received her undergraduate degree from the University of the West Indies, and her Ph.D. from Cornell University.

About J. Craig Venter Institute

The JCVI is a not-for-profit research institute in Rockville, MD and La Jolla, CA dedicated to the advancement of the science of genomics; the understanding of its implications for society; and communication of those results to the scientific community, the public, and policymakers. Founded by J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., the JCVI is home to approximately 200 scientists and staff with expertise in human and evolutionary biology, genetics, bioinformatics/informatics, information technology, high-throughput DNA sequencing, genomic and environmental policy research, and public education in science and science policy. The JCVI is a 501 (c)(3) organization. For additional information, please visit http://www.JCVI.org.

Media Contact

Heather Kowalski, hkowalski@jcvi.org or 858-361-0466