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Kevin Doxzen, PhD

Science Communications Specialist

Innovative Genomics Institute

CRISPR Gene Editing: From resurrecting woolly mammoths to defeating malaria


Bacteria are under constant attack from viruses. In order to defend themselves, these microbes have evolved a unique and creative immune system that scientists have called “CRISPR.” As scientists worked to unravel and understand this intricate immune system they suddenly realized that CRISPR proteins might not only improve the health of bacteria, but also humans. Researchers have shown that a particular CRISPR protein called Cas9 could be programmed to cut any sequence of DNA. The ability to edit the genome of nearly any organism has revolutionized biology, medicine, and agriculture. From curing deadly genetic disorders to engineering drought resistant plants, CRISPR-Cas9 will reshape modern medicine and equip us with tools to cope with a changing planet. This talk will show how a simple bacterial protein went from the benchtop to the bedside and discuss how humans might use this technology for better or for worse.

Meet the Speaker:

Kevin is originally from the Baltimore area and holds a B.A. in Biophysics from Johns Hopkins University. After completing a Fulbright fellowship in Singapore, Kevin ventured off to California and received his Ph.D. from Jennifer Doudna's lab at UC Berkeley in 2017. Kevin's doctoral research focused on understanding the structure of RNA-binding proteins. He currently works as the science communications specialist at the Innovative Genomics Institute. This Institute is a collaboration between UC Berkeley and UCSF, founded with the goal of using genome engineering to treat genetic diseases, modify plants to address world hunger, and push the boundaries of basic biology. Kevin works to create educational materials for the public and other scientists to learn about the past, present, and future of CRISPR technology and genome engineering.

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