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Jonathan Rothberg, PhD

Professor (Adjunct) of Research of Genetics

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Jonathan Rothberg, PhD



Dr. Jonathan Rothberg is best known for inventing high-speed, “Next-Gen” DNA sequencing. He founded 454 Life Sciences, bringing to market the first new method for sequencing genomes since Sanger and Gilbert won the Nobel Prize in 1980. Dr. Rothberg sequenced the first individual human genome (The Watson Genome, Nature), and initiated the Neanderthal Genome Project with Svante Paabo. Under his leadership, 454 helped understand the mystery behind the disappearance of the honey bee, uncovered a new virus killing transplant patients, and elucidated the extent of human variation—work recognized by Science magazine as the breakthrough of the year for 2007. The New England Journal described Dr. Rothberg’s innovation as "The New Age of Molecular Diagnostics", Science magazine called it one of the top 10 breakthroughs for 2008. His contributions; cloning by limited dilution, and massively parallel DNA sequencing, are the basis of all subsequent high-speed sequencing methods.

Dr. Rothberg went on to invent semiconductor chip-based sequencing, and sequenced Gordon Moore (Moore’s law) as the first individual to be sequenced on a semiconductor chip (Nature). In 2010, Ion Torrent was acquired by Life Technologies for $725 million, the largest acquisition of its kind. In addition to founding 454 Life Sciences and Ion Torrent, Dr. Rothberg Founded CuraGen Corporation, Clarifi, RainDance Technologies, Lam Therapeutics, Quantum-Si, Hyperfine Research and Butterfly Network.

Dr. Rothberg was born in 1963 in New Haven, Connecticut. He earned a B.S. in chemical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and an M.S., M.Phil, and Ph.D. in biology from Yale University. He is the first person to be named a World Economic Forum's Technology Pioneer four separate times, is an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year and received The Wall Street Journal's First Gold Medal for Innovation. He received Nature Methods First Method of the Year Award, The Irvington Institute's Corporate Leadership Award in Science, the Connecticut Medal of Technology, the DGKL Biochemical Analysis Prize, and an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Jonathan is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering, and is a life trustee of Carnegie Mellon University.

Education & Training

  • PhD
    Yale University, Biology (1991)

Departments & Organizations