Rothberg’s aim is to make healthcare accessible to everyone around the world.
Rothberg speaks at PopTech in 2011
Rothberg receives the National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Obama in 2015. (Image: White House)
Dr. Jonathan Rothberg is a scientist and entrepreneur who was awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the nation’s highest honor for technological achievement, by President Obama for inventing and commercializing high-speed DNA sequencing. He is the founder of multiple life science and medical device companies including CuraGen, 454 Life Sciences, Ion Torrent, RainDance Technologies, ClariFI, Butterfly Network, Quantum-Si, Hyperfine Research, Detect, Liminal Sciences, Tesseract Health, AI Therapeutics, Protein Evolution Inc., and 4Catalyzer. Jonathan Rothberg is focused on building technologies and founding companies to democratize medicine and be there to save the lives of the people he loves.
Jonathan started his first company, CuraGen, as a graduate student at Yale in 1991. One of the first genomics companies, CuraGen went public in 1999, and at one time had a market cap of $5 billion, larger than that of American Airlines. With his next company, 454 Life Sciences, Jonathan brought to market the first new way to sequence genomes since 1980. The idea for massively parallel (“next-gen”) DNA sequencing came to Jonathan when his infant son was rushed into intensive care, helping him realize the critical importance of genomics to human health. He went on to invent semiconductor chip-based sequencing with Ion Torrent, paving the way for the $1,000 Genome. His contributions to the field of sequencing have formed the basis for all subsequent next generation sequencing technologies, and he is regarded as the inventor of the technology.
In the early 2010s, Jonathan concluded that he needed to become a parallell entrepreneur rather than a serial entrepreneur. He launched 4Catalyzer, an incubator based in Guilford, CT. 4Catalyzer companies are positioned at the intersection of Healthcare and Technology, each tackling a different challenge with the common goal of democratizing medicine and maximizing societal impact. The companies focus on using inflection points in medicine, such as deep learning, next-generation sequencing, and the silicon supply chain, to address global healthcare challenges. 4Catalyzer companies include Butterfly Network, Quantum-Si, Hyperfine Research, Detect, Tesseract Health, Ai Therapeutics, and Protein Evolution Inc.. The 4Catalyzer ecosystem now has more than 500 team members and has raised over $2B in funding.
Jonathan was born in 1963 in New Haven, Connecticut, to a family of entrepreneurs. He earned a B.S. in chemical engineering from Carnegie Mellon and an M.S., M.Phil, and Ph.D. in biology from Yale. Rothberg is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering, is a trustee of Carnegie Mellon. and an Adjunct Professor of Genetics at the Yale.
He lives in Connecticut with his wife, Bonnie, a physician, and five children. His main motivation for his work is his family; he works only on companies that will directly affect someone he loves.
He and his wife started the nonprofit Rothberg Institute for Childhood Diseases which works on treatments for tuberous sclerosis, a rare disease that affects one of their children. Jonathan sponsors the Rothberg Catalyzer Prize, a "hack-athon" event, at four universities: Carnegie Melon University, Yale University, Brown University, and University of Pennsylvania. He had his own version of Stonehenge, which he calls the Circle of Life, build near his home in Guilford, CT, using 700 tons of granite imported from Norway.
Interested in wine-making, he owns Chamard Vineyards in Clinton, CT. A lover of the high seas, Rothberg owns a yacht named Gene Machine, and a Research and Laboratory vessel named Gene Chaser that is used for scientific research and team building.
Founded Curagen Corporation (acquired in 2009)
Founded Clarifi (acquired in 2007)
Founded 454 Life Sciences (acquired in 2007) Received the Irvington Institute's Corporate Leadership Award in Science
Founded Rothberg Institute for Childhood Diseases Awarded Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year
Founded Raindance Technologies (acquired in 2017)
Joined National Academy of Engineering
Awarded Gold Medal by The Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Awards
Joined Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering
Initiated Neanderthal Genome Project
Founded lon Torrent (acquired 2010)
Awarded the World Economic Forum's Technology Pioneer for 454 Life Sciences
Published the first entire individual human genome • James Watson's
Awarded the World Economic Forum's Technology Pioneer for Raindance Technologies
Awarded the World Economic Forum's Technology Pioneer for lon Torrent
Founded Butterfly Network
Awarded Honorary Doctorate of Science from Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Published Gordon Moore's Genome
Became Life Trustee, Carnegie Mellon University
Founded 4Catalyzer Healthtech Incubator
Founded Hyperfine Research
Awarded World Economic Forum's Technology Pioneer for Butterfly Network
Became Adjunct Professor of Genetics at Yale School of Medicine
Awarded National Medal of Technology and Innovation by President Obama
Founded Liminal Sciences
Butterfly Network goes public on the
NYSE - BFLY
Quantum-Si goes public on the
NASDAQ - QSI
Hyperfine Research goes public on the
NASDAQ - HYPR
Founded Protein Evolution Inc.