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Meet the Scientists: Dr. Omar Abudayyeh and Dr. Jonathan Gootenberg

Alexandra Urman
by Alexandra Urman, Analyst
Meet the Scientists: Dr. Omar Abudayyeh and Dr. Jonathan Gootenberg
Meet the Scientists: Dr. Omar Abudayyeh and Dr. Jonathan Gootenberg

Meet the Scientists: Dr. Omar Abudayyeh and Dr. Jonathan Gootenberg

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One of the most remarkable things that has occurred in response to the COVID-19 pandemic was the quick development of multiple vaccines around the globe. The speed and efficiency with which vaccines were achieved would have been impossible without global collaboration. This week on the For Your Innovation Podcast, we are joined by two highly accomplished individuals, Dr. Omar Abudayyeh and Dr. Jonathan Gootenberg, each of who has a passion for collaboration, and who make up the primary team at the AbuGoot Lab. Both are McGovern Institute fellows at MIT, Harvard graduates, and were recognized in both the Forbes (2018) and the Business Insider’s 30 under 30 in Science and Healthcare. In our conversation, we discuss Omar and Jonathan’s work in gene editing, gene therapy, and diagnostics, and unpack how CRISPR has enabled scientists to discover new and exciting modalities in the field. Their work with CRISPR has been especially rewarding as improving a tool with such powerful applications benefits the entire science community. Tune in to learn more about their pioneering work, their advice to young students as well as their predictions for gene editing ten years from now!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Introducing today’s guests Dr. Omar Obadiah and Dr. Jonathan Gootenberg.
  • How Omar and Jonathan connected in college and started collaborating.
  • Omar and Jonathan’s interest in tool development and their work with CRISPR.
  • The fulfillment that comes with developing methods and tools that can uplift everyone in biology.
  • How sequencing proteins has progressed since Omar and Jonathan first started.
  • The idea of creating new diagnostic tools using CRISPR.
  • How CRISPR can be used to identify a virus in the body.
  • Why we need to continue to explore CRISPR as a diagnostic tool.
  • How fluorescence is used in CRISPR and its reaction when something is detected.
  • The next phase of development we can expect from CRISPR as it relates to devices and consumers.
  • The substantial amount of money that employers would save if employees didn’t come to work when they had symptoms of illness.
  • The role of RNA in gene editing.
  • Omar and Jonathan’s respective Eureka moments in their research.
  • How RNA’s transience affects its use in gene editing.
  • Some of the safety concerns with different gene-editing techniques and how they are addressed.
  • CRISPR’s level of precision and why that is so beneficial.
  • The safety profile of CRISPR versus small molecules.
  • How delivery will be different for RNA versus DNA editing.
  • The best tools for identifying the correct information and if there are any off-target edits.
  • Jonathan and Omar’s predictions for gene editing ten years from now.
  • Jonathan and Omar’s advice for students.
  • How Jonathan and Omar had to persevere against preconceptions in their institutions regarding teamwork and setting out on their own.
  • Why science benefits from collaboration.