Listen to Dr. Jennifer Doudna, one of the discoverers of CRISPR systems discusses how the new genome engineering technology was discovered.

Video: Genome Engineering with CRISPR-Cas9: Birth of a Breakthrough Technology

As part of her work understanding how RNA molecules control gene expression in bacteria and eukaryotic cells, Dr. Doudna’s laboratory began to study to mechanism of CRISPR, a part of the bacterial genomic immune system. In 2011 Doudna met Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier (who currently holds several titles including Director at the Max Plank Institute for Infection Biology) at a scientific conference. After this meeting both labs collaborated to determine the function of Cas9. This important work led to the discovery that Cas9 could specifically cut DNA at desired sequences. Today the Doudna lab explores the mechanistic understanding of fundamental biological process involving RNA.

Dr. Doudna is a member of the departments of Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Berkely, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, along with the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  She has been lauded for her contributions to the field of biochemistry, with numerous prestigious awards and fellowships. In 2017 she received the Japan Prize for original and outstanding achievements in science and technology (jointly with Emmanuelle Charpentier) and the F. Albert Cotton Medal for excellence in chemical research.

You can also see Dr. Doudna talk about the ethical challenges of CRISPR at her TED Talk.

Video: How CRISPR lets us edit our DNA