About Jennifer A. Doudna's Work
Jennifer Doudna has devoted her scientific career to understanding the function of catalytic and other non-protein-coding RNAs. Using structural biology and biochemistry, Doudna’s work deciphering the molecular structures and biochemical activities of RNA enzymes (ribozymes) and other functional RNAs, along with their protein-binding partners, has shown how these molecules carry out complex activities in cells. The Doudna lab has studied CRISPRs for the past nine years, leading to many insights into the molecular mechanisms that enable these RNA-guided systems to provide acquired immunity to viral infections in bacteria. This work led to the transformative discovery of DNA cleavage by Cas9, a dual RNA-guided enzyme whose ability to cut double-stranded DNA can be programmed by changing the guide RNA sequence. This system enabled precision genome engineering using designed single-guide RNAs (sgRNAs). This fundamental technology will almost certainly lead to development of new therapeutics, biofuels and agricultural products.
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)