internationally renowned professor of Chemistry and Molecular and Cell Biology
at U.C. Berkeley, Doudna and her colleagues rocked the research world in 2012
by describing a simple way of editing the DNA of any organism using an
RNA-guided protein found in bacteria. This technology, called CRISPR-Cas9, has
opened the floodgates of possibility for human and non-human applications of
gene editing, including assisting researchers in the fight against HIV, sickle
cell disease and muscular dystrophy. Doudna is an Investigator with the Howard Hughes
Medical Institute and
a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine,
the National Academy of Inventors and the American
Academy of Arts and Sciences.
She is also a Foreign Member of the Royal Society, and has received many other
honors including the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, the Heineken Prize,
the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award and the Japan Prize. She is
the co-author with Sam Sternberg of “A Crack in Creation”, a personal account
of her research and the societal and ethical implications of gene editing.
The image, based on
molecular structures of the RNA-guided protein CRISPR-Cas9, shows how this
enzyme finds and cuts DNA within a genome to trigger site-specific genome
editing. Artwork created by Janet Iwasa.