The Elysium Newsletter

December 2020, Vol. 4 Issue 6

“You were always a star... The only thing better winning the #NobelPrize yourself is having one of your former students win it!” - Jack Szostak, Jennifer's mentor for her Ph.D. work @Harvad | Szostak Lab and Doudna Lab
In October, Jennifer Doudna and Emanuelle Charpentier shared the 2020 Nobel Prize in chemistry for discovering the CRISPR/Cas9 system and its use as a powerful method for genome editing. Researchers have since applied the technology to “change the DNA of animals, plants, and microorganisms with extremely high precision,” according to The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which awarded the prize.

Elysium Scientific Advisory Board members George Church and Jack Szostak have applauded the pair publicly. Church, a Harvard biologist and fellow CRISPR pioneer, praised the decision. “I think it’s a terrific choice,” he told STAT. “I think it’s maybe a little iconic and it represents a whole bunch of revolutions that include editing in general.”

Szostak, a genetics professor at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, congratulated Doudna in particular. The two worked closely together when she was a researcher in Szostak’s lab. “You were always a star,” he tweeted. “The only thing better than winning the Nobel Prize yourself is having one of your students win it!” Szostak was awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 2009 for his discoveries on how telomere caps keep the body’s chromosomes from breaking down.