They may have lost the latest round in the patent dispute, but Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier will be forever celebrated as the inventors of CRISPR.
In “The Code Breaker” by Walter Isaacson, Doudna tells how a school’s guidance counselor tried to discourage her from studying chemistry at college: “Girls don’t do science.”
The Nobel prize came a few decades and many brilliant experiments later, it’s the first shared by two women. The institute founded by Doudna (IGI) is now launching an ad hoc incubator specifically to enhance gender equity in bio-entrepreneurship. Jennifer and Emmanuelle are unquestionably great role models for girls interested in science and started a wave of discoveries and inventions by female scientists.
In the slideshow below, you can meet some of the brightest women in CRISPR.
What’s unique about this book are the insights into the relationships between the main characters of the CRISPR saga. The loyal friendship linking Jennifer Doudna and George Church. The growing distrust between Doudna and Zhang. Doudna’s sorrow that she and Charpentier have drifted apart, personally as well as scientifically. The last point is indeed a melancholic note in the Nobel-ending tale. Why did their friendship fall apart?Continue reading
After reading about the 2016 Canada Gairdner Awards in the book by Kevin Davies, I rushed online to listen to the walk-up music chosen by the CRISPR pioneers as they head to the stage to accept their award. Then I cut and pasted their songs and dance moves. So enjoy Jennifer Doudna dancing On the sunny side of the street, Rodolphe Barrangou pirouetting at the rhythm of Happy, Philippe Horvath going wild with Mission Impossible. And guess which is the song selected by Emmanuelle Charpentier? No spoiler, but the lyrics added at the end truly suits the CRISPR technological (r)evolution!
Here you can watch le Nobel Lectures by Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna. Emmanuelle is very focused and très, très chic, oui. Jennifer is generous with credits to colleagues and willing to represent the public conscience of genomic editing. The thing I liked most is the reference to CRISPR-Casɸ: a hypercompact genome editor found in huge phages. Probably it evolved to target the genes of competing phages inside bacterial hosts.Continue reading
Traditionally the Nobel Laureates travel to Stockholm to receive their prizes. This year the prizes are coming to them. On 7 December, 19.00 CET, the diploma and medal will be presented to Emmanuelle Charpentier at the Swedish Ambassador’s Residence in Berlin. On 8 December, 16.00 PST, it’s Jennifer Doudna’s turn at the Residence of Barbro Osher, Honorary Consul General in San Francisco. Also on 8 December, 11-13 CET, we can watch online the Academy’s official Nobel Lectures 2020: For the development of a method for genome editing, by Emmanuelle Charpentier, and The Chemistry of CRISPR: Editing the Code of Life, by Jennifer A. Doudna. Full programme here.
Where is Jennifer Doudna? This is the first thought most journalists had – me included – when reading the list of signatories to the call for the moratorium on heritable genome editing just published by Nature. The Boston team is well represented by Lander, Zhang and Liu (nobody would expect George Church to join that call). But the magnificent couple Doudna-Charpentier has conspicuously split up. Continue reading