Hamilton O. Smith Fund

In 1978 at just 47 years old, Hamilton Smith, MD received a Nobel Prize for his groundbreaking work in discovering restriction enzymes used as “chemical knives,” allowing scientists to cut DNA at specific places. The discovery of restriction enzymes catalyzed the biotechnology revolution, which led to products like recombinant insulin, and helped forge a path towards today’s gene editing.

Dr. Smith began collaborating with J. Craig Venter, PhD in the 1990s on ambitious projects, including sequencing the human genome. They then went on to pioneer numerous breakthroughs in synthetic biology—constructing the first synthetic cell and the first minimal cell—forever revolutionizing the field.

Please help us to honor Dr. Smith’s exceptional career, scientific contributions, and continue his legacy of bold research.


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Jill Mullen
Senior Vice President
Philanthropy & Strategic Alliances



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J. Craig Venter Institute
Attn: Development
4120 Capricorn Lane
La Jolla, CA 92037

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