Takeaways from Jennifer Doudna, PhD, on "CRISPR: Rewriting DNA and the Future of Humanity"

Jennifer Doudna, PhD, professor of chemistry, biochemistry, and molecular biology at the University of California, Berkeley, recently presented virtually as the Duke MEDx 2021 Distinguished lecturer. Dr. Doudna is a leading figure in the CRISPR revolution. Her fundamental work and leadership in developing the CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing tool earned her and French microbiologist Emmanuelle Charpentier the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2020.

Doudna presented, “CRISPR: Rewriting DNA and the Future of Humanity.”

With hundreds of members of the Duke community and beyond in the virtual attendance, many found the talk to be relevant to the work they are doing every day.

Samira Musah, PhD, assistant professor of biomedical engineering and Duke MEDX investigator said, “Dr. Doudna's lecture was insightful! Her work on somatic cell genomeDoudna watch gathering engineering is already transforming medicine, as demonstrated by the advances for patients with sickle cell disease. This technology provides a blueprint for developing targeted therapeutic strategies for common and rare genetic disorders.” 

Musah and her research team watched as a small group to enjoy the presentation together.

Another attendee, Natalia von Windheim, PhD, and current postdoctoral scholar at Ohio State’s Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME) said, “It was great to be a Duke alumna and be able to attend this talk [virtually]. The talk showcased how basic research can lead to transformational solutions for challenges society faces and the collaborative and interdisciplinary work that is required to make that happen. While I am inspired by the applications of CRISPR, it was interesting to learn more about the fundamental questions that are still being investigated.”