John Glass is a professor and leader of the JCVI Synthetic Biology Group. 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.


Cellular mechanics during division of a genomically minimal cell.
Trends in cell biology. 2022-11-01; 32.11: 900-907.
PMID: 35907702
Toward the Complete Functional Characterization of a Minimal Bacterial Proteome.
The journal of physical chemistry. B. 2022-09-15; 126.36: 6820-6834.
PMID: 36048731
Synthetic chromosomes, genomes, viruses, and cells.
Cell. 2022-07-21; 185.15: 2708-2724.
PMID: 35868275
Traditional protocols and optimization methods lead to absent expression in a mycoplasma cell-free gene expression platform.
Synthetic biology (Oxford, England). 2022-05-21; 7.1: ysac008.
PMID: 35774105
High-Content Screening and Computational Prediction Reveal Viral Genes That Suppress the Innate Immune Response.
mSystems. 2022-04-26; 7.2: e0146621.
PMID: 35319251
Fundamental behaviors emerge from simulations of a living minimal cell.
Cell. 2022-01-20; 185.2: 345-360.e28.
PMID: 35063075
Blockade of endoplasmic reticulum stress-induced cell death by Ureaplasma parvum vacuolating factor.
Cellular microbiology. 2021-12-01; 23.12: e13392.
PMID: 34490709
Generating Chromosome Geometries in a Minimal Cell From Cryo-Electron Tomograms and Chromosome Conformation Capture Maps.
Frontiers in molecular biosciences. 2021-07-22; 8.644133.
PMID: 34368224
Genetic requirements for cell division in a genomically minimal cell.
Cell. 2021-04-29; 184.9: 2430-2440.e16.
PMID: 33784496
Rescue of Infectious Sindbis Virus by Yeast Spheroplast-Mammalian Cell Fusion.
Viruses. 2021-04-01; 13.4:
PMID: 33916100
Gross Chromosomal Rearrangements in Kluyveromyces marxianus Revealed by Illumina and Oxford Nanopore Sequencing.
International journal of molecular sciences. 2020-09-26; 21.19:
PMID: 32993167
Technology used to build and transfer mammalian chromosomes.
Experimental cell research. 2020-03-15; 388.2: 111851.
PMID: 31952951
Kinetic Modeling of the Genetic Information Processes in a Minimal Cell.
Frontiers in molecular biosciences. 2019-11-28; 6.130.
PMID: 31850364
Polar Effects of Transposon Insertion into a Minimal Bacterial Genome.
Journal of bacteriology. 2019-10-01; 201.19:
PMID: 31262838
Sialidase and N-acetylneuraminate catabolism in nutrition of Mycoplasma alligatoris.
Microbiology (Reading, England). 2019-06-01; 165.6: 662-667.
PMID: 30422107
Direct transfer of a Mycoplasma mycoides genome to yeast is enhanced by removal of the mycoides glycerol uptake factor gene glpF.
ACS synthetic biology. 2019-01-15;
PMID: 30645947
Tuning Gene Activity by Inducible and Targeted Regulation of Gene Expression in Minimal Bacterial Cells.
ACS synthetic biology. 2018-06-15; 7.6: 1538-1552.
PMID: 29786424
Minimal Cells-Real and Imagined.
Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology. 2017-12-01; 9.12:
PMID: 28348033
One step engineering of the small-subunit ribosomal RNA using CRISPR/Cas9.
Scientific reports. 2016-08-04; 6.30714.
PMID: 27489041
Bacterial genome reduction using the progressive clustering of deletions via yeast sexual cycling.
Genome research. 2015-03-01; 25.3: 435-44.
PMID: 25654978
Transferring whole genomes from bacteria to yeast spheroplasts using entire bacterial cells to reduce DNA shearing.
Nature protocols. 2014-04-01; 9.4: 743-50.
PMID: 24603933
Rescue of mutant fitness defects using in vitro reconstituted designer transposons in Mycoplasma mycoides.
Frontiers in microbiology. 2014-01-01; 5.369.
PMID: 25101070
Assembly of eukaryotic algal chromosomes in yeast.
Journal of biological engineering. 2013-12-10; 7.1: 30.
PMID: 24325901
Direct transfer of whole genomes from bacteria to yeast.
Nature methods. 2013-05-01; 10.5: 410-2.
PMID: 23542886
Sequence analysis of a complete 1.66 Mb Prochlorococcus marinus MED4 genome cloned in yeast.
Nucleic acids research. 2012-11-01; 40.20: 10375-83.
PMID: 22941652
Assembly of large, high G+C bacterial DNA fragments in yeast.
ACS synthetic biology. 2012-07-20; 1.7: 267-73.
PMID: 23651249
Creating bacterial strains from genomes that have been cloned and engineered in yeast.
Science (New York, N.Y.). 2009-09-25; 325.5948: 1693-6.
PMID: 19696314
A systems biology tour de force for a near-minimal bacterium.
Molecular systems biology. 2009-01-01; 5.330.
PMID: 19953084
Complete chemical synthesis, assembly, and cloning of a Mycoplasma genitalium genome.
Science (New York, N.Y.). 2008-02-29; 319.5867: 1215-20.
PMID: 18218864
The Sorcerer II Global Ocean Sampling Expedition: metagenomic characterization of viruses within aquatic microbial samples.
PloS one. 2008-01-23; 3.1: e1456.
PMID: 18213365
Genome transplantation in bacteria: changing one species to another.
Science (New York, N.Y.). 2007-08-03; 317.5838: 632-8.
PMID: 17600181
Essential genes of a minimal bacterium.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2006-01-10; 103.2: 425-30.
PMID: 16407165
Synergistic antiviral activity of human interferon combinations in the hepatitis C virus replicon system.
Journal of interferon & cytokine research : the official journal of the International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research. 2003-05-01; 23.5: 247-57.
PMID: 12804067
The complete sequence of the mucosal pathogen Ureaplasma urealyticum.
Nature. 2000-10-12; 407.6805: 757-62.
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"
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