Honour for discover of Crispr


French biochemist Emmanuelle Charpentier, one of the scientists who discovered the Crispr gene editing tool, is being honoured with ETH Zurich’s Richard R. Ernst Gold Medal.

Everyone’s talking about Crispr-Cas9, a molecular tool that allows biologists to make changes to organisms’ gene sequences relatively easily. This method has revolutionised genetic engineering. It has been actively applied for several years now, for example in crop cultivation. In the future, scientists hope to use Crispr to cure genetic diseases or AIDS.

Professor Emmanuelle Charpentier, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin, is one of the researchers who first described how Crispr can be used in molecular biology. Now the French native is being honoured by ETH Zurich with the Richard R. Ernst Gold Medal. The presentation will take place this Friday during the Richard R. Ernst Lecture at ETH.

“With the Richard R. Ernst Gold Medal, we honour researchers who have made discoveries that go beyond pure science to have a major impact on society as well,” says Beat Meier, Professor at the Laboratory of Physical Chemistry. There is no question that this applies to Crispr-Cas9, which Professor Charpentier helped discover. The implications of this method go beyond biology and biotechnology, as it also holds out hope for healing illnesses that have thus far proved incurable. Meier points out that the rapid spread of Charpentier’s discovery also attests to its significance and applicability: “Whereas other discoveries establish themselves in the scientific community slowly and find application only after several decades, the Crispr-Cas9 method spread to other research labs around the globe in just a few years.”

Richard R. Ernst Lecture 2019

Lecture by Professor Emmanuelle Charpentier: “CRISPR-Cas9 – A Game Changer in Gene Editing and Genome Engineering” Friday, 29 March 2019, 4.00 p.m., ETH Zurich, Main Building, Auditorium Maximum (HG F30), Rämistrasse 101. Doors open at 3.30 p.m. The event will be held in English and admission is free.

The lecture will be followed by a panel discussion, which in addition to the speaker will include ETH professors Markus Aebi, Jacob Corn and Michael Hampe and ETH doctoral student Irina Ritsch.

More information

The Richard R. Ernst Lecture is held every two years in honour of the 1991 winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Organised by the Laboratory of Physical Chemistry at ETH Zurich, the lecture is intended to promote dialogue between researchers and the public and raise awareness of fundamental issues concerning the future. The Richard R. Ernst Gold Medal is conferred upon individuals who have made outstanding contributions to society and science. Previous honourees include Gottfried Schatz, Kofi Annan, Roger Penrose and Felicitas Pauss.

Source: Press Release of ETH Zürich

Emmanuelle Charpentier is Member of the Cluster of Excellence NeuroCure.

Emmanuelle Charpentier
Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens
Campus Charité Mitte
Charitéplatz 1
10117 Berlin


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