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Marie La Russa

Research Scientist

Stanford University

New Frontiers in Genome Editing


An exciting new tool called CRISPR-Cas9 has revolutionized our ability to edit the sequence of DNA in our cells (termed genome engineering). CRISPR tools can act like a word processor for our genome, inserting or deleting new sequences at will. They can also be mutated and turned into a molecular delivery truck that can bring proteins to specific DNA sequences to alter a cell’s epigenetic and transcriptional programs. The development of these tools provides many new possible avenues for biological research and medical treatments, but also raises many technical and ethical questions. In this talk, I will demystify how this tool works and its implications for the future of science and our society.

Meet the Speaker:

Marie La Russa has spent the past 10 years doing biomedical research. She grew up in San Jose, California and went to UCLA for college, where she majored in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology and minored in French. After college, she spent a year as a research associate at Stanford University before enrolling at UCSF for graduate school. At UCSF, she was advised by Dr. Stanley Qi in the fields of stem cell biology and CRISPR-based genome engineering, and earned her PhD in Biomedical Sciences in 2017. She worked for a year as a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Qi’s lab (now at Stanford) before becoming a research scientist there, which is the position she holds today.

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