Research Expertise and Interest

CRISPR-based genome and epigenome editing

Research Description

Development and advancement to the clinic of novel approaches to treat human disease using CRISPR-based genome and epigenome editing.

Fundamental mechanisms of CRISPR-based enzyme action in clinically relevant primary human cells.

Fine-resolution structure-function of the human epigenome.

In the News

Campus lab takes COVID-19 testing to utility workers, underserved

A month after opening, a COVID-19 testing lab at the University of California, Berkeley, has branched out from evaluating symptomatic students to assessing a broader range of people potentially exposed to the new coronavirus, including residents of local nursing homes, the East Bay’s homeless population, front-line firefighters and police officers and, now, utility workers around the state.

UC Berkeley scientists spin up a robotic COVID-19 testing lab

As doctors around the country scramble to diagnose cases of COVID-19, scientists at the University of California, Berkeley’s Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI) are creating from scratch a diagnostic lab with the capability to process more than 1,000 patient samples per day.

Featured in the Media

Please note: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or positions of UC Berkeley.
July 13, 2020
Emily Baumgaertner
In the first weeks of the pandemic, as a shortage of testing kits, narrow testing criteria, and spotty contact tracing impacted California's ability to react to COVID-19, the virus continued to spread with lightning rapidity. Meanwhile, at UC Berkeley, molecular biologist Fyodor Urnov formed what he called "SEAL Team Six:" hand-selected scientists, physicians and students who had constructed a volunteer lab in a matter of weeks to help relieve diagnostic lab Quest's backlog. They "moved heaven and earth" to get government certifications and create a highly automated lab that could run as many as 1,000 patient samples a day, he said. But when Urnov told nearby hospitals he could provide free testing and results in 48 hours, the hospitals declined, saying their electronic records systems were still entangled at Quest and LabCorp. The volunteers were stunned. "We said, 'What? Are you kidding me?' They have a direct link to a testing provider that has failed," Urnov said. "There's institutional inertia."
FullStory (*requires registration)

September 27, 2019
Emily Mullin
Molecular and cell biology professor Fyodor Urnov will be co-leading a research project funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to use CRISPR gene-editing technology in the development of a temporary, reversible radiation countermeasure for toxic radiation exposure. The researchers will use a modified version of CRISPR to turn genes on and off to boost proteins that protect against radiation while subduing harmful ones, without permanently changing the DNA code. It would take the form of a pill or injection, and would be used with soldiers, first responders, and civilians who need to enter areas with dangerous radiation levels. "This is like giving people a molecular coat of armor," Professor Urnov says.
Loading Class list ...