Drs. Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna both share a passion for understanding how RNA controls gene expression and biological processes such as bacterial defense against pathogens. In collaboration, they sought to understand how, in bacteria, RNA molecules transcribed from Clustered Regularly Spaced Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) mediate adaptive immunity against viruses and foreign plasmids. They discovered that CRISPR-encoded RNAs form dual-RNA structures that guide the CRISPR-associated nuclease Cas9 to degrade invading DNA molecules in a sequence-specific manner. Realizing the great potential of exploiting this system for genomic editing, they showed that dual-RNAs could be engineered as single transcripts to target any DNA sequence of interest. This scientific breakthrough forms the foundation of a new method for precise manipulation of genetic information, which holds the promise to revolutionize genomic engineering and gene therapy. In recognition of their role in understanding and adapting the CRISPR-Cas system for genome editing, Drs. Charpentier and Doudna will receive the 2014 Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research.
This symposium will honor Drs. Charpentier and Doudna, who will reflect on their research leading up to the discovery of the mechanism of dual-RNA-guided DNA cleavage in adaptive bacterial immunity and its potential applications in rewriting the genome. Following their Award lectures, leading scientists in microbiology, molecular genetics, genomics, and other relevant research areas will discuss the implications of this novel technology for basic science, medical research, drug development, and human health.
Emmanuelle Charpentier, PhD
Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research
Jennifer Doudna, PhD
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
University of California, Berkeley
Symposium registration is free. Although on-site registration may be possible on the day of the event, pre-registration is highly encouraged due to space limitations.
This symposium is made possible with support from