Innovator: George Church

Geneticist
George Church
George Church Gary Gershoff/WireImage/Getty

Having helped found the Human Genome Project in the 1980s, this Harvard Medical School scientist is gathering genomic data from thousands of volunteers and exploring gene therapy as a tool to fight diseases associated with old age. George Church's newest venture, Nebula Genomics, goes 23andMe one better—sequencing your entire genome for free. (In fact, you might make get paid for it.) “No cost to consumers is feasible by harnessing the value to researchers,” he explains, “or to those paying for [gene therapy] for serious genetic diseases, which can average $1 million per patient.” Up next: Gene drives to eliminate malaria and Lyme disease, “multiplex editing” to make hundreds of gene changes per cell and “de-extincting” the woolly mammoth to help combat global warming.

About the program

We're saluting innovators who have developed creative solutions to the problems that face our world—pollution, economic disparity, war, discrimination and more. Say hello to the creative class of 2019.