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Splicing and Dicing DNA: Genome Engineering and the CRISPR Revolution

Friday, June 3, 2016
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

CRISPR: It’s the powerful gene editing technology transforming biomedical research. Fast, cheap and easy to use, it allows scientists to rewrite the DNA in just about any organism—including humans—with tests on human embryos already underway. The technique’s potential to radically reshape everything from disease prevention to the future of human evolution has driven explosive progress and heated debate. Join the world’s CRISPR pioneers to learn about the enormous possibilities and ethical challenges as we stand on the threshold of a brave new world of manipulating life’s fundamental code.

This program is part of the Big Ideas Series, made possible with support from the John Templeton Foundation.

Our media partner for this program is Mental Floss.


Richard BesserPhysician, Journalist

Richard Besser is ABC News’ chief health and medical editor. In this role, he provides medical analysis and commentary for all ABC News broadcasts and platforms, including World News with David Muir, Good Morning America, and Nightline.

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George ChurchGeneticist

George Church is professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and director of PersonalGenomes.org, providing the world’s only open-access information on human Genomic, Environmental, and Trait data (GET). His 1984 Harvard Ph.D. included the first methods for direct genome sequencing, molecular multiplexing, and barcoding.

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Luke DowGeneticist

Luke Dow is an assistant professor of Biochemistry in Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City. Dow completed his PhD in Melbourne, Australia, before joining the laboratory of Professor Scott Lowe for his postdoctoral work in 2008, where he developed new systems to interrogate gene function in the mouse, including the first application of inducible in vivo CRISPR-based genome editing tools.

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Josephine JohnstonBioethicist

Josephine Johnston is a bioethicist and lawyer at The Hastings Center, an independent bioethics research institute in Garrison, New York. She works on the ethics of emerging biotechnologies with a focus on their use in reproduction, psychiatry, genetics, and neuroscience.

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Ben MatthewsBiologist

Ben Matthews is a postdoctoral research associate in the Laboratory of Neurogenetics and Behavior at The Rockefeller University and Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He joined the laboratory, run by Leslie Vosshall, in 2010 to study the mosquito Aedes aegypti, a vector of mosquito-borne diseases including Zika virus, Dengue Fever, and Chikungunya.

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Harry OstrerMedical Geneticist

Harry Ostrer, M.D. is professor of Pathology and Pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He develops new technologies and investigates the genetic basis of common and rare disorders, then translates the findings into tests that can be used to identify people’s risks for having a disease or for predicting its outcome.

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Noel SauerBiologist

Noel Sauer is the Director of Technology at Cibus. Dr. Sauer earned her B.S. degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Southern California, and a doctoral degree in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from Harvard University. For her postdoc, Dr. Sauer joined Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, studying host-pathogen interactions.

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