My lab is researching the molecular basis for CRISPR-Cas genome protection and editing. CRISPR is a surgical tool for changing the code of life. In bacteria, CRISPR systems preserve invading genetic material and incorporate it into surveillance complexes to achieve adaptive immunity. Crystal structures of diverse Cas9 proteins reveal RNA-mediated conformational activation. Further, my group is exploring translational control. The eukaryotic translation machinery is a critical control point for the induction of gene expression. Viruses by necessity hijack the translational equipment. One area of interest is HCV IRES which bypasses normal regulatory mechanisms to promote viral gene expression.

Awards and Achievements

  • Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences ( 2014)
  • Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research ( 2014)
  • Lurie Prize in Biomedical Sciences, Foundation for the National Institutes of Health ( 2014)
  • National Academy of Sciences Award for Initiatives in Research ( 1997)
  • Alan T. Waterman Award, National Science Foundation ( 1999)
  • National Academy of Science
  • L-Oreal-UNESCO Prize
  • Royal Society
  • Japan Prize
  • Kavli Prize

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