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Jennifer Doudna

Dr. Jennifer Doudna

Biochemist at UC Berkeley, Founder of the Innovative Genomics Institute, and co-inventor of CRISPR technology

The announcement of CRISPR-Cas9 created quite a buzz in the science world. CRISPR is a faster, cheaper, and more precise method of genome editing, with an incredible list of potential applications in medicine and agriculture.

Short for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, CRISPR was first discovered in nature (used by bacteria to fight off viruses). Years of research led to the understanding of CRISPR — leading to the creation of a technology that enables scientists to change DNA — the code of life — with precision once only dreamed of.

Two researchers, Jennifer Doudna at the University of California, Berkeley in the US, and French scientist Emmanuelle Charpentier were jointly awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their breakthrough work in the development of CRISPR-Cas9.

A fireside chat with Nobel Laureate Dr. Jennifer Doudna

Dr. Doudna will join Dr. Karen Churchill (president and CEO of Ag-West Bio) on September 21st at 7 pm CST (Saskatchewan time) for a virtual ‘fireside chat’. The two will discuss the potential that CRISPR holds for agriculture. The event is part of the new Agricultural Bioscience Innovation Centre (ABIC) Speaker Series, managed by Ag-West Bio, Saskatchewan’s bioscience industry association.

Doudna is a leader in the public discussion of the ethical implications of genome editing, and advocates for thoughtful approaches to the development of policies around the safe use of CRISPR technology.

During a recent lecture, Doudna said, “The potential of the technology is so huge and it’s so important that we don’t want to slow it down, but I think the global scientific community needs to be making a strong stand about how we want to see the technology proceed — and I think that’s been happening.”

The ABIC Speaker Series seeks out thought leaders with a passion for solving global challenges through science and technology. ABIC presentations teach, inspire, and drive innovative thinking. The events are hybrid (in-person as well as live-streamed), and topics are wide-ranging — from advice for bioscience start-ups to dealing with controversial issues in science communications to exploring futuristic concepts.

The upcoming conversation with Dr. Jennifer Doudna will be the third in the ABIC Speaker Series. Past speakers included Brent Zettl, a pioneer in medical cannabis, and Curtis Frank, president and COO at Maple Leaf Foods. To learn more and to register, visit abic.ca.

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