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Jennifer Doudna

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}} Jennifer Anne Doudna (born 19 February 1964) is an American biochemist, Professor of Chemistry at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, and Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. She has been an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) since 1997. She is also the director of the joint UC Berkeley- UC San Francisco center Innovative Genomics Institute. She also holds Li Ka Shing Chancellor's Professorship in Biomedical and Health, and the chair of the Chancellor's Advisor Committee on Biology at UC Berkeley. Doudna has been a leading figure in what is often referred to as the " CRISPR Revolution" for her early fundamental work and ongoing leadership in the development of CRISPR-mediated genome editing. In their seminal 2012 paper A programmable dual-RNA-guided DNA endonuclease in adaptive bacterial immunity, Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier were the first to propose that CRISPR/Cas9 could be used for programmable gene editing. This discovery is considered as one of the most significant discoveries in the history of biology. Their work has since been further developed by many research groups for applications ranging from fundamental protein research to treatments for diseases including sickle cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, Huntington's disease, and HIV. Doudna has been widely acclaimed by the scientific community for her fundamental contributions to the fields of biochemistry and genetics, receiving many prestigious awards and fellowships. She was awarded the 2000 Alan T. Waterman Award for her research on ribozyme, and 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences for her contributions to CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technology (with Charpentier). She has also been a co-recipient of the Gruber Prize in Genetics (2015), the Canada Gairdner International Award (2016) and the Japan Prize (2017). She has also been recognized outside the scientific community, being named one of the Time 100 most influential people in 2015 (with Charpentier)King, Mary-Claire. " Time 100 Most Influential People: Emmanuelle Charpentier & Jennifer Doudna". Time. April 16. 2015. Web. 25 Dec. 2016. and listed as a runner-up for Time Person of the Year in 2016 alongside other CRISPR researchers.Park, Alice. " The CRISPR Pioneers: Their Breakthrough Work Could Change the World." Time. N.d. 2016. Web. 25 Dec. 2016.

Early life and education

Early years

Jennifer Doudna was born in Washington, D.C.. Her father got his Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Michigan, and her mother, a stay-at-home parent, held a master's degree in education. When Doudna was seven years old, her father completed his thesis and moved his wife and three daughters from Michigan to Hawaii to teach American literature at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Her mother earned a second master's degree in Asian history from the university, and taught history at a local community college. Growing up in Hilo, Hawaii, she was fascinated by the environmental beauty of the island and its exotic plants and animals; they infused a sense of curiosity about how the nature works in her and she wanted to understand the underlying biological mechanisms. When she was in school, she developed interest in science and mathematics. Her father fostered a culture of intellectual pursuit in her home. He enjoyed reading about science and filled the home with plenty of books on popular science. When she was in the sixth grade, a copy of The Double Helix (a book by James Watson) was presented to her by her father. When she was in the high school, she was influenced by Miss Wong, a chemistry teacher.

University education and post-doctoral years

Doudna entered Pomona College in Claremont, California to study biochemistry. During her sophomore year, while taking a course in general chemistry, she questioned her own ability to pursue a career in science, and considered switching her major to French. However, her French teacher suggested she to stick with science. Fred Grieman and Corwin Hansch, both professors of chemistry at Pomona, had a major impact on her. She started her first scientific research in the lab of Sharon Panasenko. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biochemistry from Pomona College in 1985. She went to Harvard Medical School for her doctoral study and earned a Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology in 1989. Her Ph.D. thesis was on engineering a self-replicating catalytic RNA and was supervised by Jack W. Szostak. From 1989 to 1991, she held research fellowships in molecular biology at the Massachusetts General Hospital and in genetics at Harvard Medical School. From 1991 to 1994, she was Lucille P. Markey Postdoctoral Scholar in Biomedical Science at the University of Colorado Boulder, where she worked with Thomas Cech.

Research and career

Szostak's lab, Cech's lab, and Yale University

Early in her scientific career, Doudna worked to uncover the structure and biological function of RNA enzymes or ribozymes. While in the Szostak lab, Doudna reengineered the self-splicing Group I catalytic intron into a true catalytic ribozyme that would copy RNA templates. Her focus was on engineering ribozymes and understanding their underlaying mechanisms. However, she came to realize that not being able to see the molecular mechanisms of ribozymes was a major problem. She went to the lab of Thomas Cech at the University of Colorado Boulder to crystallize and determine the three-dimensional structure of ribozymes. She started this project in the Cech lab in 1991 and finished it at Yale University in 1996. She joined Yale's Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry as an assistant professor in 1994. At Yale, Doudna's group was able to crystallize and solve the three-dimensional structure of the Tetrahymena Group I ribozyme. Initially, her group was able to grow high-quality crystals, but they struggled with the phase problem due to unspecific binding of the metal ions. One of her early graduate students and later her husband, Jamie Cate decided to soak the crystals in osmium hexamine to imitate magnesium. Using this strategy, they were able to solve the structure, the second solved folded RNA structure since tRNA. The magnesium ions would cluster at the center of the ribozyme and would serve as a core for RNA folding similar to that of a hydrophobic core of a protein. Her group has also crystallized other ribozymes, including the HDV ribozyme. This initial work to solve large RNA structures led to further structural studies on the IRES and protein-RNA complexes like the Signal recognition particle. Doudna was promoted to the position of Henry Ford II Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale in 2000. In 2000-2001, she was Robert Burns Woodward Visiting Professor of Chemistry at Harvard University.

University of California, Berkeley

In 2002, she accepted a faculty position at University of California, Berkeley as a Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology so that she would be closer to family and the synchrotron at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Her lab now focuses on obtaining a mechanistic understanding of biological processes involving RNA. This work is divided over three major areas, the CRISPR system, RNA interference, and translational control via MicroRNAs.


In 2012, Doudna and her colleagues generated a new discovery that would reduce the time and work needed to edit genomic DNA. Their discovery relies on a protein named Cas9 found in the Streptococcus bacteria " CRISPR" immune system that works like scissors. The protein attacks its prey, the DNA of viruses, and slices it up. In 2015, Doudna gave a TED Talk about the bioethics of using CRISPR.

Other work

She has also discovered that the hepatitis C virus utilizes an uncommon strategy to synthesize viral proteins. This work could lead to new drugs to stop infections without causing harm to the tissues of the body.

Awards and honors

Doudna was a Searle Scholar and received the 1996 Beckman Young Investigators Award. In 2000, she was awarded the Alan T. Waterman Award, the National Science Foundation's highest honor that annually recognizes an outstanding researcher under the age of 35, for her earlier research on ribozyme. In 2001, she received the Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry of the American Chemical Society. In 2015, together with Emmanuelle Charpentier, she received the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences for her contributions to CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technology. In 2016, together with Charpentier, Feng Zhang, Philippe Horvath and Rodolphe Barrangou, she received the Canada Gairdner International Award. Also in 2016, she received the Heineken Prize for Biochemistry and Biophysics. She has also been a co-recipient of the Gruber Prize in Genetics (2015), the Tang Prize (2016), the Japan Prize (2017) and the Albany Medical Center Prize (2017). She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2002, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003, the National Academy of Medicine in 2010 and the National Academy of Inventors in 2014. She was elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (ForMemRS) in 2016. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from the royalsociety.org website where: }}


External links

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This article based upon the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jennifer_Doudna, the free encyclopaedia Wikipedia and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
Further informations available on the list of authors and history: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jennifer_Doudna&action=history
presented by: Ingo Malchow, Mirower Bogen 22, 17235 Neustrelitz, Germany