Jennifer Doudna Feng Zhang

Jennifer Doudna and Feng Zhang

Jennifer Doudna of University of California, Berkeley, and Feng Zhang of the Broad Institute have both received separate grants from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) for projects based on CRISPR technology. 

Jennifer Doudna will receive $2.1 million to set up and run the Centre for Genome editing and Recording. The centre will address the challenges of accurately interrogating and manipulating DNA sequences in situ “at a scale and level of accuracy and not currently available” by developing technologies based on CRISPR-Cas9 that can “detect, alter and record the sequence and output of the genome in individual cells and tissues,” according to Doudna’s grant proposal. 

Feng Zang will receive $1.1 million for a project that aims to develop a suite of tools for the interrogation of RNA based on CRISPR-Cas enzymes that target RNA in a programmable manner. 

“Tools for transcript knockdown, translation upregulation, and transcript sensing will be developed, which, together, will enable dissection of genetic circuits in a dynamic, high-throughput manner, accelerating nearly all areas of biomedical science,” Zhang’s grant proposal said. 

Doudna and Zhang both say they have the potential to advance the tool’s usefulness for human health purposes.