San Diego's scientific community embraces Venter's "corporate approach"

Craig Venter is building a new $35 million home for his ambitious work on synthetic biology in San Diego, home to some of the world's most prestigious research institutes. And even his most outspoken admirers expect the brash and frequently abrasive Venter to forge his own unique path in the research community, where good science is known to rise from below as investigators pursue their passions.

"I would guess that the Venter Institute is more of a top-down (culture), where the leadership sets broad objectives and the entire organization gets behind those," John Reed, chief executive of the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in La Jolla, told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "It's more of a corporate approach to science."

Venter's grand design for the new complex includes a 45,000-square-foot facility that will qualify as the world's first green energy research lab. Researchers there will work on a new generation of drugs, fuels and more, often in league with others at Scripps, the Salk Institute and Sanford-Burnham.

"It's a giant experiment," he told the hometown newspaper, which profiled the scientist. "We're putting some of the fundamental beliefs of sustainability into action."

- here's the profile in the Union-Tribune