Dr. Jennifer Doudna is a member of the departments of Molecular and Cell Biology and Chemistry at UC Berkeley, 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.
- Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2003)
- Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, the University of California, Berkeley (2003)
- Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Department of Chemistry, the University of California, Berkeley (2003)
- Faculty, Biophysics Graduate Group, the University of California, Berkeley (2003)
- Faculty Scientist, Physical Biosciences Division, Lawerence Berkeley National Laboratory (2003)
- Member, National Academy of Sciences (2002)
- Member, Board of Trustees, Pomona College (2001)
- American Chemical Society Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry (2001)
- R. B. Woodward Visiting Professor, Harvard University (2000-2001)
- Alan T. Waterman Award (2000)
- Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (1997)
- Searle Scholar, Kinship Foundation’s Searle Scholars Program (1996)
- Henry Ford II Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Center for Structural Biology, Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University (1994-2002)
- Lucille P. Markey Scholar in Biomedical Science, University of Colorado (1991-1994, Dr. Thomas R. Cech)
- Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Molecular Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School (1989-1991, Dr. Jack W. Szostak)
- Ph.D. Harvard University (1989, Dr. Jack W. Szostak)
- B.A. Pomona College (1985, Dr. Sharon M. Panasenko)
Diverse CRISPR-Cas systems are now known to function as integral components of the immune repertoire of many microorganisms, with the currently known catalog of systems spanning two of the three domains of life and contributing to the capacity of these bacteria and archaea to thwart viral infection. Eukaryotes conspicuously lack endogenous CRISPR-Cas systems, but it is not yet known if these molecular surveillance complexes can be co-opted to achieve therapeutically relevant inhibition of viral infection in humans through direct interference with the genomes of human viruses. While investigating strategies to improve the therapeutic potential of CRISPR-Cas components, I will also examine our ability to temporally control the editing activity of diverse CRISPR effectors.
CRISPR-Cas-based genome editing tools enable the control of gene expression in cells, tissues and whole organisms. Although invaluable for experimental studies, translation of these advances into clinical therapeutics requires delivery of CRISPR-Cas proteins and guide RNA to disease-relevant organs in the body. All current in vivo delivery strategies have drawbacks including ineffective delivery to target tissue, prolonged nuclease expression leading to off-target damage, and clearance of edited cells by adaptive immune responses. I posit that viral infection strategies can be harnessed to overcome the challenges faced by the in vivo delivery of genome editing tools. In the Doudna laboratory, I am applying my background in viral engineering to create the next-generation of CRISPR-Cas delivery vehicles and translate these technologies into therapeutics. By merging virology with bioengineering, I aim to make these revolutionary genome-based treatments accessible to all people who can benefit.
The CRISPR-Cas (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats-CRISPR-associated proteins) systems arose in bacteria and archaea as an adaptive innate immune response to combat viral infection. In Class 2 type II CRISPR systems, the single protein effector Cas9 is guided by a CRISPR-RNA to cleave complementary target sequences within foreign DNA. With biochemical and structural data to define their molecular mechanisms, Cas9 and the Class 2 type V effector, Cpf1, have been readily employed as tools for genome engineering. However, the CRISPR-Cas systems show remarkable diversity across microbial species, with the recent identification of highly divergent class 2 single effectors that share little to no resemblance to Cas9. My research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms of the expanding ‘CRISPR universe’ using biochemistry and X-ray crystallography.
CRISPR-Cas systems are an ancient and widespread RNA-guided adaptive immune system in bacteria and archaea. My research focuses on how multisubunit Type III CRISPR-Cas complexes target transcriptionally active DNA and RNA of invading phages and plasmids. Using a combination of biochemistry and single-particle electron microscopy, I aim to uncover the mechanism of transcription-coupled target recognition by Type III complexes. Understanding how they find and destroy their targets will provide fundamental insights into RNA-guided immunity in prokaryotes, and could potentially lead to a tool that can detect or target actively expressed genes in heterologous systems, such as eukaryotic cells.
CRISPR-Cas (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats – CRISPR-associated proteins) systems typically provide bacteria and archaea with an adaptive immunity against foreign nucleic acids. Interestingly, many mobile genetic elements (MGEs, e.g bacteriophages and transposons) have recently been shown to possess their own CRISPR-Cas systems. Those MGE-borne CRISPR-Cas systems are believed to eliminate competing MGEs and some variants have been shown to sequence-specifically guide transposition events of their associated transposons. My research focuses on the biochemical and structural characterization of novel MGE-borne CRISPR-Cas systems, to understand their biological role and to eventually allow their translation into tools for genome editing and biotechnological applications.
CRISPR-Cas in Uncultured Microbes: The large majority of life has never been cultivated within the laboratory. This life can both be mined for new CRISPR-Cas systems and manipulated by these systems to facilitate understanding. My research focuses on the development of genetics, enabled by CRISPR-Cas, in communities of uncultured microorganisms. Secondarily, I look for new CRISPR-CAS and CRISPR-Cas-like defense systems within these same communities.
CRISPR-Cas enzymes are RNA-guided bacterial proteins widely used for genome editing and genetic manipulation in a wide range of cell types. Beyond correction of genetic mutations in human cells, CRISPR-Cas enzymes may have additional therapeutic value for eliminating specific bacterial species during infection. In order to realize their clinical potential, it is critical to maintain tight control over CRISPR-Cas genome editing activity to maximize editing efficiency while avoiding off-target editing. Natural inhibitors of Cas enzymes, known as anti-CRISPRs (Acrs), block Cas activity by a variety of mechanisms, suggesting the possibility of a much larger collection of CRISPR-Cas regulators that may occur across the microbial world. My aim is to identify novel mechanisms of CRISPR-Cas regulation using genomics and biochemistry.
Glioblastoma (GBM) is a deadly disease that most people with this cancer died within two years of diagnosis despite decades of research on finding more effective treatments. With the recent development of CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) and CRISPR-associated (Cas) proteins as easily accessible and programmable means of editing and regulating genes, I propose to directly leverage CRISPR-Cas as a therapeutic modality to eliminate GBM cells. I have two main research focuses 1) use CRISPR-Cas system to dissect mechanisms of tumorigenesis and identify therapeutic targets, and 2) develop in vivo delivery tools to target GBM stem-like cells, the main population responsible for tumor recurrence, using intracranial xenograft model of GBM.
Abby is a postdoctoral scholar in the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences. She began studying the host immune response to bioengineered materials during her time as a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine. She now studies how the immune system responds to Cas proteins and delivery vectors to improve the efficacy of gene editing and to further translate the use of CRISPR systems for in vivo applications.
While protein structures are commonly represented as a single set of 3D coordinates, most biological macromolecules rely heavily on conformational flexibility to effect their functions in solution. Cas effector complexes in particular undergo dramatic conformational movements during the process of RNA-guided nucleic acid targeting. I am broadly probing the energetic landscape of these dynamic interference complexes to better understand how their nuclease activity is regulated.
Former Postdoctoral Associates
Senior Bioengineer, Arbor Biotechnologies
Assistant Adjunct Professor, Department of Cellular & Molecular Pharmacology, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco; Staff Research Investigator, Gladstone Institutes
Assistant Professor, Tel Aviv University
Assistant Professor, UCSF
Assistant Professor, University of Rochester Medical Center
Postdoctoral Fellow, Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney
Editor, Cell Magazine
Assistant Professor, University of Texas, Austin
Executive Officer, KIMICA corporation
Scientist, Global Blood Therapeutics
Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School, Kranzusch Lab
Senior Scientist, Pfizer
Assistant Professor, ShanghaiTech
Assistant Research Fellow, Academica Sinica
Principal Investigator, Wilson Lab, UC Berkeley
Scientist at Genentech
Senior Manager, Technology Development at Guardant Health
Project Scientist, Berkeley Lab
Assistant Professor, Institute of Biochemistry, University of Zurich
Assistant Professor, Montana State University
Assistant Professor, Iowa State University
Assistant Professor, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison
Lecturer, Molecular & Microbial Biosciences, The University of Sydney
Assistant Professor of Biological Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Assistant Professor, Seoul National University
Associate Director /Laboratory Leader-Protein Production, MorphoSys AG
Assistant Professor, University of Southern Alabama
Associate Professor, MIT
Associate Professor, UC Davis
Staff Scientist, Bio-Rad Laboratories
Professor, Scripps Research Institute
Associate Professor, The Scripps Research Institute
Senior Scientist, Baxalta, Inc.
Associate Professor, Cornell University
Service Architect,Hitachi Consulting
Staff Scientist, Genentech
Research Director, University of Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France
Professor, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO
Lab Head, NIH
Sr. Scientist, Boehringer Ingelheim Inc.
Former Graduate Students
Co-founder, Chief Discovery Officer, Mammoth Biosciences
Co-founder, Chief Research Officer, Mammoth Biosciences
Science Media Communications Innovative Genomics Institute
Scientist Arrakis therapeutics
Data Scientist Forsite Capital
Communications Manager Innovative Genomics Institute
Postdoc, Weissman lab, UCSF
Postdoc, Susan Lindquist lab, MIT
Assistant Professor, Columbia University
Senior Scientific Researcher, Genentech
President/CEO, Caribou Biosciences
Instructor, Diablo Valley College
Assistant Professor, Mount Holyhoke College
Postdoctoral Fellow, UCSF
Postdoc. Research Assoc., R. Stevens Lab, Scripps Research Institute
Resident, Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Radiology
Director of Marketing Azure Biosystems, Inc
Staff Scientist, Health Program National Resources Defense Council
Global Director of Customer Success, LinkedIn Learning
Associate Professor, UC Irvine
Principal Scientist, Merck & Co., Inc.
Owner and Proprietor, MadeWithMolecules.com
Prof., UC Berkeley