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Genome-editing pioneer next up in Discovery Lecture series

Jan. 2, 2015, 1:30 PM

Jennifer Doudna, Ph.D., recipient of a 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences for developing a powerful genome-editing technology, will deliver the next Flexner Discovery Lecture on Thursday, Jan. 8.

Jennifer Doudna, Ph.D.

Doudna, the Li Ka Shing Chancellor’s Chair in Biomedical and Health Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, will discuss “CRISPR Biology: From Foundational to Translational Science.” Her lecture begins at 4 p.m. in 208 Light Hall and is sponsored by the Department of Biochemistry, the Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology and the Center for Structural Biology.

CRISPR refers to a system bacteria use to protect their genomes from invasive elements such as viruses. Doudna and her colleagues discovered a CRISPR-associated enzyme, Cas9, and demonstrated how this enzyme – and selected RNA sequences – could be harnessed for site-specific genome engineering in animals and plants.

Doudna will discuss the process of basic science discovery that enabled the development of CRISPR as a revolutionary technology.

Doudna is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Institute of Medicine. In addition to the Breakthrough Prize, she has received the National Science Foundation Waterman Award, the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health Lurie Prize and the Paul Janssen Award.

For a complete schedule of the Flexner Discovery Lecture series and archived video of previous lectures, go to

Doudna’s lecture is also part of the “Frontiers in Biochemistry” seminar series sponsored by the Department of Biochemistry.

As part of this series, Purdue University’s Seema Mattoo, Ph.D., will discuss “A novel link between Fic-mediated adenylylation and the unfolded protein response” at noon Friday, Jan. 16, in 214 Light Hall. For more information about the Frontiers in Biochemistry series, visit


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