Jennifer Doudna Delivers 2018 Ullyot Public Affairs Lecture at the Science History Institute

The internationally renowned biochemist presented a fascinating look into her groundbreaking CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology.

On Friday, November 16, 2018, the Science History Institute hosted its annual Ullyot Public Affairs Lecture to a sold-out audience. This year’s lecturer was Jennifer Doudna, a biochemist who is one of the scientists credited with discovering the molecular tool CRISPR-Cas9. This discovery, made in 2012, provided the foundation for gene editing, enabling researchers to make specific changes to DNA sequences in a way that was far more efficient and technically simpler than earlier methods.

Endowed in 1990 by chemist Glenn Edgar Ullyot, the Ullyot Public Affairs Lecture seeks to illustrate how chemistry, biology, and the sciences in general contribute to the public welfare. The lecture is free and open to the public.

About the Lecturer

As an internationally renowned professor of biochemistry, biophysics, and structural biology at the University of California, Berkeley, Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues rocked the research world in 2012 by describing a simple way of editing the DNA of any organism using an RNA-guided protein found in bacteria. This technology, called CRISPR-Cas9, has opened the floodgates of possibility for human and nonhuman applications of gene editing, including assisting researchers in the fight against HIV, sickle-cell disease, and muscular dystrophy. Doudna is an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Inventors, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is also a foreign member of the Royal Society and has received many other honors, including the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, the Heineken Prize, the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award, and the Japan Prize. She is the coauthor with Sam Sternberg of A Crack in Creation, a personal account of her research and the societal and ethical implications of gene editing.

About the Science History Institute

The Science History Institute collects and shares the stories of innovators and of discoveries that shape our lives. We preserve and interpret the history of chemistry, chemical engineering, and the life sciences. Headquartered in Philadelphia, with offices in California and Europe, the Institute houses an archive and library for historians and researchers, a fellowship program for visiting scholars from around the globe, a community of researchers who examine historical and contemporary issues, an acclaimed museum that is free and open to the public, and a state-of-the-art conference center.


November 26, 2018