Archive for the ‘Women in Life Sciences’ Category

17th Annual EmTech @ Media Lab, MIT – November 7 – 8, 2017, Cambridge, MA – This Year’s Themes, Speakers and Agenda

MIT Media Lab
Building E14
75 Amherst Street 
(Corner of Ames and Amherst)


  • Business Impact
  • Connectivity
  • Intelligent Machines
  • Rewriting Life
  • Sustainable Energy
  • Meet the Innovators Under 35

Leaders in Pharmaceutical Business Intelligence (LPBI) Group, Boston


will cover in REAL TIME

The 17th annual EmTech MIT – A Place of Inspiration, November 7 – 8, 2017, Cambridge, MA

In attendance, streaming LIVE using Social Media

Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN






  • 8:00
    Registration & Breakfast
  • 9:00
    Opening Remarks
  • 9:15
    The State of AI
  • 9:45
    Meet the Innovators Under 35
  • 10:30
    Break & Networking
  • 11:00
    AI’s Next Leap Forward
  • 12:30
    Lunch & Networking
  • 2:00
    Adapting to the reality of climate change
  • 3:30
    Break & Networking
  • 4:00
    Meet the Innovators Under 35
  • 5:30
    Lemelson-MIT Prize Honors & Reception


  • 8:00
    Registration & Breakfast
  • 9:00
    What is social media doing to society?
  • 10:30
    Break & Networking
  • 11:00
    Next-generation brain interfaces
  • 12:00
    Lunch & Networking
  • 1:30
    The Future of Work
  • 2:00
    A Look Ahead: Emerging Technologies at Work
  • 3:00
    Break & Networking
  • 3:30
    Meet the Innovators Under 35
  • 5:00
    2017 Innovator Under 35 Awards & Reception


  • Viktor

    Group Leader, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

    2017 Innovator Under 35

  • Gene

    CEO, Sila Nano

    2017 Innovator Under 35

  • Tracy

    Founding Advisor, Project Include

    2017 Innovator Under 35

  • Adrienne

    Software Engineer, Google

    2017 Innovator Under 35

  • Phillipa

    Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

    2017 Innovator Under 35

  • Tallis

    CEO, Singu

    2017 Innovator Under 35

  • Kathy

    CEO, WafaGames

    2017 Innovator Under 35

  • Ian

    Staff Research Scientist, Google Brain

    2017 Innovator Under 35

  • Yasmin

    Director of Research and Development, Jigsaw at Google

    Addressing Online Threats to Global Security

  • Kris

    Chief Scientist and Cofounder, Narrative Science

    AI’s Language Problem

  • Svenja

    Scientist, Fraunhofer IGB

    2017 Innovator Under 35

  • Reid

    Cofounder, LinkedIn; Partner, Greylock Partners

    The Future of Work

  • John

    Professor, Harvard University

    Climate Disruption: Technical Approaches to Mitigation and Adaptation

  • Joi

    Director, MIT Media Lab

    The Future of Work

  • Mary Lou

    Founder, Openwater

    Capturing Our Imagination: The Evolution of Brain-Machine Interfaces

  • David

    Professor, Harvard University; Founder, Carbon Engineering

    The Growing Case for Geoengineering

  • Neha

    Cofounder and CTO, Confluent

    2017 Innovator Under 35

  • Andrew

    Founder,; Adjunct Professor, Stanford University

    The State of AI

  • Tomaso

    Investigator, McGovern Institute; Eugene McDermott Professor, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT

    Understanding Intelligence

  • Olga

    Assistant Professor, Princeton University

    2017 Innovator Under 35

  • Michael

    Marie Curie Fellow, EPFL

    2017 Innovator Under 35

  • Gang

    Chief Scientist, Alibaba

    2017 Innovator Under 35

  • Jianxiong

    Chief Executive Officer, AutoX, Inc.

    2017 Innovator Under 35


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Emerging STAR in Molecular Biology, Synthetic Virology and Genomics: Clodagh C. O’Shea: ChromEMT – Visualizing 3D chromatin structure


Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN


On 8/28/2017, I attend and covered in REAL TIME the CHI’s 5th Immune Oncology Summit – Oncolytic Virus Immunotherapy, August 28-29, 2017 Sheraton Boston Hotel | Boston, MA


I covered in REAL TIME this event and Clodagh C. O’Shea talk at the conference.

On that evening, I e-mailed my team that

“I believe that Clodagh C. O’Shea will get the Nobel Prizebefore CRISPR


11:00 Synthetic Virology: Modular Assembly of Designer Viruses for Cancer Therapy


Clodagh O’Shea, Ph.D., Howard Hughes Medical Institute Faculty Scholar; Associate Professor, William Scandling Developmental Chair, Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory, Salk Institute for Biological Studies

Design is the ultimate test of understanding. For oncolytic therapies to achieve their potential, we need a deep mechanistic understanding of virus and tumor biology together with the ability to confer new properties.

To achieve this, we have developed

  • combinatorial modular genome assembly (ADsembly) platforms,
  • orthogonal capsid functionalization technologies (RapAd) and
  • replication assays that have enabled the rational design, directed evolution, systematic assembly and screening of powerful new vectors and oncolytic viruses.


Clodagh O’Shea’s Talk In Real Time:

  • Future Cancer therapies to be sophisticated as Cancer is
  • Targer suppresor pathways (Rb/p53)
  • OV are safe their efficacy ishas been limited
  • MOA: Specify Oncolytic Viral Replication in Tumor cells Attenuate – lack of potency
  • SOLUTIONS: Assembly: Assmble personalized V Tx fro libraries of functional parts
  • Adenovirus – natural & clinical advantages
  • Strategy: Technology for Assmbling Novel Adenovirus Genomes using Modular Genomic Parts
  • E1 module: Inactives Rb & p53
  • core module:
  • E3 Module Immune Evasion Tissue targeting
  • E4 Module Activates E2F (transcription factor TDP1/2), PI3K
  • Adenovirus promoters for Cellular viral replication — Tumor Selective Replication: Novel Viruses Selective Replicate in RB/p16
  • Engineering Viruses to overcome tumor heterogeneity
  • Target multiple & Specific Tumor Cel Receptors – RapAd Technology allows Re-targeting anti Rapamycin – induced targeting of adenovirus
  • Virus Genome: FKBP-fusion FRB-Fiber
  • Engineer Adenovirus Caspids that prevent Liver uptake and Sequestration – Natural Ad5 Therapies 
  • Solution: AdSyn335 Lead candidat AdSyn335 Viruses targeting multiple cells
  • Engineering Mutations that enhanced potency
  • Novel Vector: Homes and targets
  • Genetically engineered PDX1 – for Pancreatic Cancer Stroma: Early and Late Stage
On Twitter:

Engineer Adenovirus Caspids prevent Liver uptake and Sequestration – Natural Ad5 Therapies C. O’Shea, HHDI

Scientist’s Profile: Clodagh C. O’Shea


BS, Biochemistry and Microbiology, University College Cork, Ireland
PhD, Imperial College London/Imperial Cancer Research Fund, U.K.
Postdoctoral Fellow, UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Francisco, U.S.A


O’Shea Lab @Salk


  • 2016 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Faculty Scholar
  • 2014 W. M. Keck Medical Research Program Award
  • 2014 Rose Hills Fellow
  • 2011Science/NSF International Science & Visualization Challenge, People’s Choice
  • 2011 Anna Fuller Award for Cancer Research
  • 2010, 2011, 2012 Kavli Frontiers Fellow, National Academy of Sciences
  • 2009 Sontag Distinguished Scientist Award
  • 2009 American Cancer Society Research Scholar Award
  • 2008 ACGT Young Investigator Award for Cancer Gene Therapy
  • 2008 Arnold and Mabel Beckman Young Investigator Award
  • 2008 William Scandling Assistant Professor, Developmental Chair
  • 2007 Emerald Foundation Schola


Clodagh C. O’Shea: ChromEMT: Visualizing 3D chromatin structure and compaction in interphase and mitotic cells | Science


Clodagh C. O’Shea

In Press

Jul 27, 2017 – Salk scientists solve longstanding biological mystery of DNA organization

Sep 22, 2016 – Clodagh O’Shea named HHMI Faculty Scholar for groundbreaking work in designing synthetic viruses to destroy cancer

Oct 05, 2015 – Clodagh O’Shea awarded $3 million to unlock the “black box” of the nucleus

Aug 27, 2015 – The DNA damage response goes viral: a way in for new cancer treatments

Apr 12, 2013 – Salk Institute promotes three top scientists

Oct 16, 2012 – Cold viruses point the way to new cancer therapies

Aug 25, 2010 – Use the common cold virus to target and disrupt cancer cells?

Oct 22, 2009 – Salk scientist receives The Sontag Foundation’s Distinguished Scientist Award

May 15, 2008 – Salk scientist wins 2008 Beckman Young Investigator Award

Mar 24, 2008 – Salk scientist wins 2007 Young Investigator’s Award in Gene Therapy for Cancer

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NIH announced its sixth class of Medical Research Scholars Program (MRSP) – 42 Students, 48% Females and 8 Minority Students

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN


The National Institutes of Health has selected 42 talented and diverse students, representing 35 U.S.-accredited universities, for the sixth class of its Medical Research Scholars Program (MRSP). The MRSP received a record number of applications during the 2017-2018 application cycle. The 42 selected participants consist of 39 medical, two dental, and one veterinary student; 48 percent are female and eight individuals are from underrepresented minority groups. There are five second year, 35 third, and two fourth year students in the class; six of the 42 have had previous NIH research experience. The accepted scholars begin their MRSP fellowship in July/August of this year.

“These 42 scholars represent some of this country’s most promising future biomedical researchers and academic leaders.”

Frederick P. Ognibene, M.D., Director, Office of Clinical Research Training and Medical Education, NIH Clinical Center

The MRSP is co-sponsored by the NIH and other partners via contributions to the Foundation for the NIH.

The 42 participants for the 2017-2018 NIH MRSP include:

  1. Mairead Baker, Loyola University of Chicago, Stritch School of Medicine
  2. Fatima Barragan, Michigan State University, College of Human Medicine, East Lansing
  3. Jennifer Bayly, Rutgers, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, New Jersey
  4. Jacqueline Boyle, University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria
  5. Rebecca Breese, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine
  6. Sonny Caplash, the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington
  7. Katherine Chen, the University of California, Irvine, College of Medicine
  8. Sophie Claudel, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  9. Shavonne Collins, Meharry Medical College, Nashville
  10. Shazia Dharssi, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore
  11. Joshua Diamond, the University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville
  12. Youssef Elnabawi, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston
  13. Joseph Featherall, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University
  14. Kathleen Fenerty, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis
  15. Samuel Gold, State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine, Brooklyn
  16. Morgan Graves, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, D.C.
  17. Jacob Groenendyk, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis
  18. Russ Guidry, Louisiana State University School of Medicine, New Orleans
  19. Graham Hale, Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia
  20. Christopher Hampton, the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington
  21. Belen Hernandez, Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Fort Collins
  22. Christopher Hogden, the University of Iowa College of Dentistry, Iowa City
  23. Tommy Hu, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey
  24. Eileen Hu-Wang, Northwestern University The Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago
  25. Sahar Khan, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University
  26. Alyssa Kosturakis, the University of Texas School of Medicine at San Antonio
  27. Jason Lau, the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester
  28. Andrew Lum, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, Boston
  29. Uchenna Okoro, the University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor
  30. Kristen Pan, the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
  31. Priya Patel, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo
  32. Grant Randall, the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Medicine
  33. Corinne Rauck, the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
  34. Kareem Rayn, State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine, Brooklyn
  35. Isabelle Sanchez, the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago
  36. Aakash Sathappan, the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine
  37. Clayton Smith, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, D.C.
  38. Dattanand Sudarshana, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University
  39. Enock Teefe, Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science
  40. Alison Treichel, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo
  41. Fernando Vazquez, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, New Hampshire
  42. Jeannette Yu, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina


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Top 50 Women in CRISPR : Women in CRISPR, Legal Status of Inventions and Declaration of the Heroes in CRISPR

Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN


Part 1: Top 50 Women in CRISPR : Women in CRISPR 

See List, below


Part 2: UPDATED – Status “Interference — Initial memorandum” – CRISPR/Cas9 – The Biotech Patent Fight of the Century: UC, Berkeley and Broad Institute @MIT

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN




Part 3: The Heroes of CRISPR

in CELL, December, 2015

Eric S. Lander1,2,3,*

1, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, 415 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA

2Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

3Department of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA



Three years ago, scientists reported that CRISPR technology can enable precise and efficient genome editing in living eukaryotic cells. Since then, the method has taken the scientific community by storm, with thousands of labs using it for applications from biomedicine to agriculture. Yet, the preceding 20-year journey—the discovery of a strange microbial repeat sequence; its recognition as an adaptive immune system; its biological characterization; and its repurposing for genome engineering—remains little known. This Perspective aims to fill in this backstory—the history of ideas and the stories of pioneers—and draw lessons about the remarkable ecosystem underlying scientific discovery.



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Pandika, M. (2014) Jennifer Doudna, CRISPR Code Killer,, January 7, 2014. < >. Porteus, M.H., and Baltimore, D. (2003). Chimeric nucleases stimulate gene targeting in human cells. Science 300, 763. Pourcel, C., Salvignol, G., and Vergnaud, G. (2005). CRISPR elements in Yersinia pestis acquire new repeats by preferential uptake of bacteriophage DNA, and provide additional tools for evolutionary studies. Microbiology 151, 653–663. Sander, J.D., and Joung, J.K. (2014). CRISPR-Cas systems for editing, regulating and targeting genomes. Nat. Biotechnol. 32, 347–355. Cell 164, January 14, 2016 ª2016 Elsevier Inc. 27 Sapranauskas, R., Gasiunas, G., Fremaux, C., Barrangou, R., Horvath, P., and Siksnys, V. (2011). The Streptococcus thermophilus CRISPR/Cas system provides immunity in Escherichia coli. Nucleic Acids Res. 39, 9275–9282. Sharma, C.M., Hoffmann, S., Darfeuille, F., Reignier, J., Findeiss, S., Sittka, A., Chabas, S., Reiche, K., Hackermu¨ ller, J., Reinhardt, R., et al. (2010). 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Top 50 Women in CRISPR : Women in CRISPR

Women in CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing research – List Version 3
First Name
Last Name Organisation Location Country Position Website
Twitter Handle
Field of Research
Research Interest
Divaki Bhaya Stanford Univeristy Stanford, CA USA Professor
Evolution and Ecology – microbial diversity – Plant Biology
Research in my lab is driven by an interest in understanding how photosynthetic microorganisms perceive and evolve in response to environmental stressors, such as light, nutrients and viral attack.We work both with model organisms and with cyanobacteria in naturally occurring communities. Recently,we have started to develop synthetic biology-inspired approaches to use in cyanobacteria.
Jill Banfield University of California Berkeley Berkeley, CA USA Professor Evolution and Ecology – microbial diversity
The study system for this project is an aquifer adjacent to the Colorado River in Rifle, Colorado, USA.Research addresses knowledge gaps related to the roles of subsurface microbial communities in biogeochemical cycling. Given the link between the carbon cycle and global climate change, a particular interest in this work is the impact of microorganisms on carbon compounds buried in the terrestrial subsurface, both through respiration and carbon fixation.
Denis Bauer
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
Sydney Australia Head of laboratory @allPowerde Computational biology – Technology development
Dr. Denis Bauer is the team leader of the transformational bioinformatics team in CSIRO’s ehealth program. Her expertise is in high throughput genomic data analysis, computational genome engineering, as well as Spark/Hadoop and high-performance compute system.
Pilar Blancafort Harry Perkins Institute for Medical Research Perth Australia Associate Professor Cancer biology – Technology Development
The Blancafort laboratory focuses on the development of novel approaches to target cancers that are currently refractory to treatment and associated to poor outcome, such as triple negative breast cancers and ovarian cancers. At present, there are no targeted approaches to combat these tumors with chemotherapy and radiation the only treatment options. The laboratory generates novel functionalised molecules able to specifically target these tumors with minimal toxicity to normal cells. Our emphasis is in advanced stage metastatic tumors, which quasi invariably develop resistance. Ultimately we wish to revert the behavior of metastatic cells by sensitizing these treatment resistant tumors to chemotherapy regimes.
Alexa Burger University of Zurich Zurich Switzerland
Senior postdoctoral fellow @aburger2009 Zebrafish – Technology development
CRISPR application in Zebrafish (ribonucleic complex and increase mutation efficiency)
Emmanuelle Charpentier Max Plank Institute Berlin Germany Professor Host-pathogens interaction
Our research relates to the field of Molecular Infection Biology. We are overall interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms governing physiology-, virulence- and infection-associated processes in Gram-positive bacterial pathogens. We use a combination of genetic, genomic, molecular, biochemical, physiological and cell infection approaches to study mechanisms of gene expression at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional level in horizontal gene transfer, adaptation to stress, physiology or virulence. In particular, we do research on CRISPR, the adaptive immune system that protects bacteria against invading genetic elements; the small regulatory RNAs that interfere with bacterial pathogenicity; protein quality-control that regulates bacterial adaptation, physiology and virulence; and the mechanisms of bacterial recognition by immune cells.
Sylvia Comporesi Kings College London London UK Lecturer @silviacomporesi Bioethics
I am a bioethicist with an interdisciplinary background in medical biotechnologies, ethics and philosophy. I am a tenured Lecturer (the UK equivalent to Assistant Professor) in Bioethics & Society in the Department of Global Health & Social Medicine (formerly, Social Science, Health & Medicine) at King’s College London, where I direct the Master’s in Bioethics & Society.
Elena Conti Max Plank Institute Martinsried Germany
Group leader and Director Structural Biology – RNA biology
Our group has a long-standing interest in RNA metabolism, with a particular focus on the molecular mechanisms of eukaryotic RNA transport and degradation.
Jennifer Doudna University of California Berkeley Berkeley, CA USA Professor @doudna_lab RNA biology – Adaptive immunity
Exploring molecular mechanisms of RNA-mediated gene regulation
Caixia Gao Chinese Academy of Science Beijing China Professor Plant biology (Wheat) – Technology development
The main research goal of our laboratory is to develop high-throughput transgene technologies for common wheat (Triticumaestivum L.) and maize (Zea mays) and other major crops to satisfy the needs of crop improvement and gene discovery.
Carine Giovanangeli Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle Paris France Director of Researchénomiques+et+réponses+cellulaires DNA repair mechanisms – Technology development
Nowadays, we are mainly focusing on novel artificial DNA binding domains, the TALE repeats (transcription-activator like effector) and CRISPR/Cas9 system. We use the CRISPR/Cas or TALE as nucleases (TALEN) to study DNA repair in mammalian cells as well as DNA probes to study genome dynamics (see Repeated DNA sequences and chromatin).
Natalia Gomez-Ospina Stanford Univeristy Stanford, CA USA Clinical Instructor Stem cell biology – Clinical therapy
Dr. Gomez-Ospina was born and raised in Medellin, Colombia. She began her undergraduate studies in petroleum engineering at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia before moving to Colorado. She double majored at the University of Colorado Boulder, completing her bachelor’s degree in Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology as well as Biochemistry. She graduated summa cum laude and wrote an honors thesis entitled “Role of the quiescent center in the regeneration of the root cap in Zea Mays.” She then completed her combined MD, PhD at Stanford Medical School, where her PhD work focused on understanding the novel functions of voltage-gated calcium channels. Her PhD thesis, “The calcium channel CACNA1C gene: multiple proteins, diverse functions,” was published in Cell. After completion of her dual degrees, she did her preliminary year in internal medicine at Santa Barbara Cottage hospital before starting residency in Dermatology at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She completed residency in Medical Genetics at Stanford Hospital and clinics. She is currently doing her post-doctoral research with Dr. Matthew Porteus in Pediatric Stem Cell transplantation, where she is developing a genome editing strategy in stem cells as a curative therapy for metabolic diseases. In addition to her research, Dr. Gomez-Ospina is a clinical instructor in Medical Genetics. For her clinical practice she sees patients with suspected genetic disorders, and is also in charge of the enzyme replacement service for lysosomal storage disorders at Lucile Packard Children’s hospital. She has been the lead author in research studies in The New England Journal of Medicine, Cell, Nature Communications, and American Journal of Medical Genetics.
Asma Hatoum-Aslan The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL USA Assistant Professor @crisprcas10 Host-pathogens interaction
Bacterial infectious diseases are a major cause of mortality worldwide. The rise in antibiotic resistant infections, coupled with the sharp decline in the discovery of new and clinically useful classes of antibiotics, underscores an urgent need for alternative strategies to combat bacterial infections. Small noncoding RNA pathways have recently been recognized as important regulators of bacterial pathogenesis, and the challenge lies in gaining a detailed understanding of these processes. My research uses the tools of biochemistry and molecular genetics to unravel the mechanisms of small RNA-mediated pathways and enable the development of novel anti-microbial therapeutics.
Rachel Haurwitz Caribou Biosciences Berkeley, CA USA
President and Chief Executive officer Biotech – Technology development
Rachel is a co-founder of Caribou Biosciences and has been President and CEO since its inception. She has a research background in CRISPR-Cas biology, and is also a co-founder of Intellia Therapeutics. In 2014, she was named by Forbes Magazine to the “30 Under 30” list in Science and Healthcare, and in 2016, Fortune Magazine named her to the “40 Under 40” list of the most influential young people in business. Rachel is an inventor on several patents and patent applications covering multiple CRISPR-derived technologies, and she has co-authored scientific papers in high impact journals characterizing CRISPR-Cas systems. Rachel earned an A.B. in Biological Sciences from Harvard College, and received a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley.
Sara Howden Murdoch Children Research Institute Melbourne Australia Senior Research Fellow Stem cell biology – Technology development
Around 10-20% of kidney disease is inherited. In children with kidney disease, this is closer to 50% although in many instances, the disease-causing mutation is unknown, therefore limiting treatment options. In our research group, we investigate the genes required for normal kidney development and what happens as a result of genetic or environmental damage during development. This knowledge is used to try to recreate kidney stem cells. We have developed methods for generating mini-kidneys from human stem cells that represent models of the human organ. We hope to use these mini-kidneys to screen drugs for kidney toxicity, as models with which to understand kidney disease, to generate cells for the treatment of kidney disease and eventually to bioengineer replacement organs.
Nina Hoyland-kroghsbo Princeton University Princeton, NJ USA Postdoctoral fellow Host-pathogens interaction
Research Interest: The global threat of multi-drug resistant bacteria urgently demands alternatives to conventional antibiotics. Two promising alternatives to traditional antibiotics are bacteriophage (phage) therapy and inhibitors of bacterial cell-cell communication, known as quorum sensing (QS). Bacteria in high cell density maximally engage in QS. These cells are particularly vulnerable to phage infections, which could rapidly spread and kill the population. QS-control of antiphage activities would enable bacteria to specifically activate defenses when they are at the highest risk of infection. I am investigating to what extent bacteria use QS to regulate their antiphage defenses. Whereas QS-inhibitory compounds are generally studied for their capacity to inhibit bacterial virulence, I will study whether they additionally have the ability to increase the vulnerability of pathogenic bacteria to phages.
Danwei Huangfu Memorial Sloan Kettering New York, NY USA Head of laboratory Stem cell biology – Technology development
The ability to program naïve cells or to reprogram differentiated cells into particular fates will open the door to the discovery of novel therapeutics for diseases such as diabetes. The goal of my lab is to understand the fundamental principles that govern the identity of a cell, and to use these principles to manipulate cell fates for regenerative medicine. In pursuit of this goal, we employ a variety of approaches including cellular programming and reprogramming through gene transduction, directed differentiation of embryonic stem (ES) cells, chemical screening, mouse genetics, adult tissue injury and regeneration, and tissue/cell transplantation.
Maria Jasin Memorial Sloan Kettering New York, NY USA Head of laboratory DNA repair mechanisms – DSB
Human chromosomes are constantly assaulted by challenges to their integrity as a result of either environmental agents that damage DNA or from normal DNA metabolism. The failure to repair damaged DNA faithfully is ultimately responsible for many human diseases, especially cancer. This laboratory focuses on the repair of 1 particular lesion in DNA, the double-strand break (DSB). DSBs arise from agents, such as ionizing radiation, and can also occur spontaneously during DNA replication. Our emphasis is on repair of DSBs by homologous recombination, with a particular interest in the role of homologous recombination in maintaining genetic stability. Understanding the repair of DSBs is not only important for basic science and health concerns, but also impacts on molecular genetic manipulations of mammalian genomes
Josephin Johnston The Hasting Centre Garrison, NY USA Director of Research @bioethicsjosie Bioethics
Josephine Johnston is an expert on the ethical, legal, and policy implications of biomedical technologies, particularly as used in human reproduction, psychiatry, genetics, and neuroscience.
Helene Jousset-Sabroux The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research Melbourne Australia Head of laboratoryélène-jousset-sabroux
High Throughput Screening – Technology Development
The screening laboratory offers a wide range of expertise gained from both industrial and academic backgrounds, resulting in a professional ability to develop high capacity cellular or biochemical assays. We offer liquid handling robotics, plate readers and computing programs to increase the scale and speed of assays, and leverage automation to quickly assess the activity of a large number of compounds.
tamsin Lannagan University of Adelaide Adelaide Australia
Senior postdoctoral fellow
Cancer biology – Technology Development
My role within the group is to develop and assess novel mouse models of colorectal cancer, using colonoscopy techniques that are very similar to patient surveillance in humans. In addition, I am developing an in vitro method of growing mouse and human stem cells from the colon with their associated connective tissue. This will allow us to further investigate these support cells in normal growth and cancer. Both systems will be directly therapeutically relevant, allowing us to assess preclinical targeting of molecular pathways relevant to colorectal cancer.
Hong Li Florida State University Tallahassee, FL USA Professor Structural Biology – RNA biology
A diverse range of RNA:protein, RNA:RNA and protein:protein interactions occur at the level of transcription and translation as well as post-transcriptional modifications. RNA:protein interactions are particularly interesting not only because they play important functional roles in assembly and biological processes, but also because the rules of their interactions are still poorly understood owing to the scarce structural data. Unlike DNA molecules, RNA can fold into a range of structures for interacting with proteins and small molecules. We hope, by providing exceptionally detailed images of the molecular events along the assembly and functional pathways, to unveil the underlying basis for assembly and functions involving RNA and partner proteins.
Jennifer Listgarten Microsoft Research Cambridge, MA USA Senior Researcher Computational biology – Technology development
My area of expertise is in machine learning and applied statistics for computational biology. I’m interested in both methods development as well as application of methods to enable new insight into basic biology and medicine.
Shirley Liu Dana Farber Cancer Institute – Harvard Cambridge, MA USA Head of laboratory Computational biology – Technology development
We are developing the computational methods for the design (SSC), analysis (MAGeCK), hit prioritization (NEST), and visualization (VISPR) of genome-wide CRISPR screens. We are also using this technology to identify key genes in breast and prostate tumor progression and drug resistance. We also develop CRISPR screen platforms to understand the functions of enhancers and long-noncoding RNAs, and identify synthetic lethal gene pairs in cancer that leads to optimized cancer precision medicine.
Anita Marchfelder Ulm University Ulm Germany Head of laboratory Host-pathogens interaction
All prokaryotic cells have to fend off foreign genetic elements like for instance viruses. To do that they have developed several different defence strategies. The recently discovered new defence strategy is the so called prokaryotic immune system also called CRISPR/Cas (CRISPR: clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, Cas: CRISPR-associated). It is adaptive, since cells can become immune against new invaders and it is heritable, since the information about the invader is stored in the genome. The CRISPR/Cas system consists of clusters of repetitive chromosomal DNA in which short palindromic DNA repeats are separated by spacers, the latter being sequences derived from the invader. In addition, a set of proteins, the Cas proteins, is involved in this defence reaction. We are investigating the CRISPR/Cas system in the halophilic archaeon Haloferax volcanii. Haloferax encodes a type I-B CRISPR/Cas system with eight Cas proteins and three CRISPR RNAs.
Karen Maxwell University of Toronto Toronto Canada Assistant Professor @theMaxwellLab Host-pathogens interaction
The Maxwell lab studies the phages that infect and kill the human bacterial pathogens Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus. Infections caused by these bacteria create a significant disease burden, and the increasing incidence of antibiotic resistant infections caused by these pathogens is one of our most serious health threats.
Barbara J Meyer University of California Berkeley Berkeley, CA USA Head of laboratory Nematode – Technology development
Targeted Genome-editing Across Highly Diverged Nematode Species. Thwarted by the lack of reverse genetic approaches to enable cross-species comparisons of gene function, we established robust strategies for targeted genome editing across nematode species diverged by 300 MYR. In our initial work, a collaboration with Sangamo BioSciences, we used engineered nucleases containing fusions between the DNA cleavage domain of the enzyme FokI and a custom-designed DNA binding domain: either zinc-finger motifs for zinc-finger nucleases or transcription activator-like effector domains for TALE nucleases (TALENs). In those experiments, we allowed the DNA double-strand breaks to be repaired imprecisely by non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) to create mutations in precise locations.
Shondra Miller Washington University St Louis, MO USA Director of Research Stem cell biology – Technology development
The Genome Engineering and IPSC Center (GEiC) was formed by the consolidation of two pre-existing cores, the Genome Engineering Center and the Induced Pluripotent Stem cell (iPSC) core, both established by the Department of Genetics in the past few years. These two Centers were established to facilitate functional genomic studies through the use of patient-derived iPSCs and the generation of modified cells and organisms using genome editing technologies.
Hiromi Miura Tokai University School of Medicine Kanagawa Japan Assistant Professor Mouse – Technology development
Kathy Niakan The Francis Crick Institute London UK Head of laboratory Stem cell biology – Technology development
The allocation of cells to a specific lineage is regulated by the activities of key signalling pathways and developmentally regulated transcription factors. The focus of our research is to understand the influence of signalling and transcription factors on differentiation during early human development.
Kate O’Connor-Giles University Wisconson Madison Madison, WI USA Head of laboratory Drosophila -Technology development
We are also developing genetic technologies for identifying and gaining genetic control of neuronal subtypes to determine their characterize their roles in neural circuits. Working with the laboratories of Jill Wildonger and Melissa Harrison, we recently adapted the CRISPR/Cas9 system for use in Drosophila. CRISPR is a novel technique that is revolutionizing genome engineering. Developed from bacteria where the CRISPR/Cas9 system functions in acquired immunity, CRISPR technology enables highly efficient and specific editing of targeted genomic sequences – opening the door to routine genome engineering. The many applications of CRISPR technology include modifying the genomes of model organisms to probe gene function, conferring disease resistance to agricultural organisms, and correcting disease-causing mutations in humans. We are capitalizing on this advance to develop novel genome engineering approaches that overcome current technological limitations to understanding neural circuits. Visit our flyCRISPR and flyCRISPR Optimal Target Finder sites for more details on our genome engineering work.
April Pawluk University of California Berkeley Berkeley, CA USA Postdoctoral fellow @AprilPawluk Host-pathogens interaction
Bacteria and their cognate viruses, known as bacteriophages, are in a constant battle for survival. Among many mechanisms that bacteria possess to defend against bacteriophage infection, one of the most widespread and sophisticated is the CRISPR-Cas system. Setting CRISPR-Cas apart from other defence systems is the fact that it is an adaptive immunity system: one that can acquire the ability to target newly encountered invaders in a sequence-specific manner. Although much has been uncovered about the targeting mechanisms of CRISPR-Cas systems, very little is known about how they select and capture genetic snapshots of bacteriophages for later use as guides for the “seek and destroy” machinery. I leverage biochemical and structural biology approaches to investigate the CRISPR-Cas adaptation process in detail.
Jennifer Phillips University of Oregon Eugene, OR USA Research Fellow @ClutchScience Zebrafish – Technology development
Our laboratory studies the molecular genetic basis of human diseases, particularly Usher syndrome, the leading cause of combined deafness and blindess, and other diseases of the eye and ear.
Wenning Qin Biogen inc Cambridge, MA USA Director of Research @wenningqin Mouse – Technology development
Wenning has been focusing on and exploring into genetic engineering technologies in her entire professional career. Her association includes Monsanto Biosciences, Pharmacia Corporation, Pfizer Incorporated and the Jackson Laboratory. She currently directs the Genetically Engineered Models group of Biogen, leveraging into genetic engineering to advance drug discovery pipeline for Biogen. Over the years, she acquired extensive knowledge and experience in design and creation of genetically engineered models, using random transgenesis, conventional gene targeting as well as CRISPR/Cas9 technology.
Rakhi Rajan The University of Oklahoma Norman, OK USA Assistant Professor RNA biology – Adaptive immunity
Protein-nucleic acid interactions are key to fundamental life processes such as DNA replication, transcription, recombination, and protein synthesis. Deciphering the mechanism of protein-nucleic acid interactions is invaluable for understanding human disease pathways and infections. The primary focus of my lab is to characterize protein-DNA/RNA interactions structurally, biochemically, and biophysically. The immediate emphasis is the study of the recently discovered bacterial and archaeal immune system, CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats). CRISPR is an RNA-based adaptive immune system that inactivates foreign DNA/RNA entering the cell, based on the sequence similarity of small RNAs, called CRISPR RNA (crRNA) to the invading genetic element. The process requires several proteins called CRISPR associated (Cas) proteins. The CRISPR/Cas9 system has revolutionized the genome editing field due to the ease with which targeted double-stranded DNA breaks can be achieved in cells, using a guide RNA and Cas9 protein. The long-term goals of my laboratory are to understand the role of CRISPR/Cas system in pathogenicity and virulence of bacteria, characterize the mechanism of adaptation of bacteria to phage infection, and to determine the signaling mechanisms of the CRISPR/Cas system. We incorporate molecular biology, biochemistry, X-ray crystallography, and additional biophysical tools to characterize these protein-nucleic acid interactions.
Dipali Sashital Iowa State University Ames, IA USA Assistant Professor @dsashital RNA biology – Adaptive immunity
RNA-protein (RNP) complexes are central to many fundamental processes of gene regulation and genome maintenance in all kingdoms of life. The RNA components of these molecular machines often carry out diverse functions, acting as guide, template, scaffold, or catalyst. Despite this versatility, RNAs require protein partners to function, and the interactions that form between these components often dictate the overall activity of the RNP complex. Our lab is interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying the function of RNPs from diverse cellular pathways. To that end, we combine a broad range of biochemical, structural and cellular tools to study RNA and protein structure, interactions and function.
Nikki Shariat Gettysburg College Gettysburg, PA USA Assistant Professor RNA biology – Adaptive immunity
The Shariat Lab research interests are in prokaryote small RNA regulation and function, specifically in Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPRs). These elements are present in nearly half of all sequenced bacterial genomes and comprise several unique short sequences, called spacers, which are interspaced by conserved direct repeats. Spacers are derived from exogenous nucleic acids, such as bacteriophage genomes and plasmids. The spacers are transcribed into CRISPR RNAs (crRNAs), which are subsequently targeted to complementary nucleic acids, resulting in degradation of the target. Due to acquisition of new spacers, CRISPRs provide a remarkably dynamic adaptive immune system in both bacteria and archaea.
Bettina Schmid Deutsches Zentrum fur Neurodegenerative Erkankungen Helmotz Germany Head of laboratory Zebrafish – Technology development
Our group uses the advantages of the zebrafish, Danio rerio, as an in vivo model system to address some of the unresolved questions in Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD), and Amyotrophic lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
Kimberley Seed University of California Berkeley Berkeley, CA USA Assistant Professor Host-pathogens interaction
The ability of V. cholerae to prevent phage predation is critical for its evolutionary fitness and epidemic potential. In turn, as obligate bacterial parasites, phages must co-evolve to overcome this resistance or they will face extinction. Our research is aimed at understanding the bacterial immunity and opposing phage immune evasion strategies at play in this dynamic co-evolutionary arms race. We use comparative genomics and complementary molecular approaches to identify and experimentally validate such strategies in disease associated phage and V. cholerae isolates.
Kaylene Simpson Peter McCallum Cancer Centre Melbourne Australia Associate Professor
High Throughput Screening – Technology Development
The Victorian Centre for Functional Genomics (VCFG) at Peter Mac offers biomedical researchers Australia-wide the ability to perform novel discovery-based functional interrogation all genes in the genome, or selected boutique collections using multiple platforms including CRISPR/cas9, small interfering RNA (siRNA), micro RNA (miRNA) and long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) and short hairpin RNA (shRNA).
Joyce Van Eyck Cornell Univeristy Ithaca, NY USA Assistant Professor Plant Biology (Tomato) – Technology Development
The focus of research in the Van Eck laboratory is biotechnological approaches to the study of gene function and crop improvement. For our studies, we apply several genetic engineering strategies to two major food crops: potato and tomato. The development of biotechnological techniques has made it possible to design and introduce gene constructs into plant cells and recover plants that express the introduced genes. Genes of interest to us have the potential to strengthen a plant’s resistance to disease, improve fruit characteristics, and enhance nutritional quality.
Stineke Van Houte University of Exeter Exeter UK Research Fellow Host-pathogens interaction
I am a biologist with a broad interest in host-parasite interactions, from an evolutionary, ecological and molecular perspective. Currently I work as a Marie-Curie fellow in the lab of Professor Angus Buckling on the evolution of immunity against virus infections in Pseudomonas bacteria. My PhD research at the Laboratory of Virology, Wageningen University (the Netherlands) focused on manipulation of host insect behaviour by baculoviruses, insect-specific viruses that cause lethal disease in caterpillars.
Leslie Vosshall The Rockfeller Univeristy New York, NY USA Head of laboratory @pollyp1 Insect – Technology development
The overall goal of work in our laboratory is to understand how complex behaviors are modulated by external chemosensory cues and internal physiological states. The lab takes a multi-disciplinary approach spanning cell biology, genetics, neurobiology and behavior. Our early focus has been to study how the brain interprets olfactory signals in the environment that signal food, danger, or potential mating partners. We have been studying these problems in three model organisms: the fly, the mosquito and the human. The majority of the early work in the laboratory was carried out in the genetically tractable vinegar fly, Drosophila melanogaster, which displays a rich repertoire of chemosensory behaviors despite having a nervous system with only 100,000 neurons. In this animal, we have studied the functional neuroanatomy of the olfactory system, how this system perceives sex pheromones, and the structure and function of the insect odorant receptors.
Kan Wang Iowa State University Agron,IA USA Professor Plant biology (Maize) – Technology development
As the rapid development in plant genomics research identifies more genes, their functional analysis relies on strategies such as complementation, overexpression, or gene silencing. Plant genetic transformation is a critical technology required in the application of these strategies.
Rachel Whitaker University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign Urbana, IL USA Associate Professor Evolution and Ecology – Adaptive immunity
My lab combines population genomics with laboratory-based genetic and genomic experimental techniques to study the evolutionary ecology of microbial populations. We take a comparative approach, examining interactions within and between species using wild strains from natural populations isolated across spatial and temporal scales. Currently we are working on two critical forces that define the evolutionary process in all organisms: host-virus co-evolution and recombinational gene flow. We have a particular interest in how the unique biology of organisms in the Archaeal domain is reflected in genome architecture and how the CRISPR-Cas immune system functions in microbial populations.
Susan Woods University of Adelaide Adelaide Australia Senior Research Fellow Cancer biology – Technology Development
Susan’s current project focuses on colorectal cancer. This is the second most common cancer type in Australia, costing us over $1 billion dollars annually. There are minimal effective treatments for advanced disease. The lab has recently identified a new stem cell that gives rise to a layer of cells that support the intestinal lining. We are investigating whether similar support cells can promote the formation of colorectal cancer from cells lining the intestine, and if we can prevent it using a new therapeutic approach.
Luhan Yang eGenesis Cambridge, MA USA Co-founder and CSO Biotech – Technology development
Luhan is leading the effort to eradicate PERVs from the porcine genome and engineer human compatibility in porcine cells. She previously developed the highly programmable genome-engineering tool, CRISPR/Cas9, for use in mammalian cells, and pioneered the first isogenic human stem cell lines to model human diseases at the tissue level. She was named among the “30 Under 30” in Science and Healthcare by Forbes Magazine (2014) and was a laureate of the “Young Entrepreneur Initiative” competition (2014). Luhan holds B.S. degrees in Biology and Psychology from Peking University and a Ph.D. in Human Biology and Translational Medicine from Harvard Medical School.
Yan Zhang University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI USA Assistant Professor






RNA biology – Technology development
CRISPR-Cas is a RNA-guided, genetic interference pathway in prokaryotes that enables acquired immunity against invasive nucleic acids. Nowadays, CRISPRs also provide formidable tools for facile, programmable genome engineering in eukaryotes. Cas9 proteins are the “effector” endonucleases for CRISPR interference; and have recently begun to be also recognized as important players in other aspects of bacterial physiology (e.g. acquisition of new spacers into CRISPRs, endogenous gene regulation, and microbial pathogenesis, etc.).My laboratory is broadly interested in CRISPR biology and mechanism. We will use Neisseria species as our model system, and E. coli and human cells as additional platforms. We employ complementary biochemical, microbiological, genetic and genomic approaches. We are also interested in working with the broader scientific community to develop and apply novel CRISPR-based tools to tackle diverse biological questions.

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