Jennifer Doudna '85, a Howard Hughes investigator and professor of biochemistry, biophysics and structural biology at UC Berkeley, was profiled in the Jan. 7 edition of as a rising star for developing a CRISPR-based genome-editing tool.

According to the article, "Her game-changing technology takes a mysterious bacterial genetic code and transforms it into a powerful tool for cutting and pasting bits of genetic material – meaning not only could the entire field of gene therapy be revived, but her genome-editing tool could one day be used to treat a range of diseases, from cancer and AIDS to hereditary disorders like Down syndrome and Huntington disease."

"Little more than a year after Doudna first described CRISPR in the journal Science, the cut-and-paste technology has yielded promising results in labs around the world. Last month, researchers from the Netherland's Utrecht institute reported in Cell Stem Cell that CRISPR corrected the gene mutation responsible for cystic fibrosis in stem cells developed from two children with the life-threatening disease. Doudna believes a clinical trial of CRISPR-based gene therapy could begin in less than a decade."

A former Pomona College trustee, she earned her Ph.D. in biochemistry at Harvard University and has served as a research fellow in molecular biology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School and as the Lucille P. Markey Scholar in Biomedical Science at the University of Colorado. In 2002, she was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences for her contributions to the field of biochemistry.

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