CRISPR: Rewriting DNA and the Future of Humanity
with Dr. Lea Witkowsky
Thursday January 10, 2019
Doors at 6:00 PM, Talk at 7:00 PM
Cafe Leila, 1724 San Pablo Ave. Berkeley, CA
We have changed our regular time to the Second Thursday of the month
Space is limited!
Audience will be admitted until the venue reaches capacity.
East Bay Science Cafe is back in a new location! Join us at Cafe Leila on San Pablo Avenue for an evening of science, conversation, and community. Cafe Leila specializes in fresh California Cuisine and artisanal tea drinks.
BYOB (wine and beer) is welcome with purchase of menu item.
Dr. Megan Hochstrasser regrets she cannot attend the cafe due to illness. This talk will be presented by her colleague Dr. Lea Witkowsky.
Developed here in Berkeley in just 2012, the CRISPR-Cas9 system lets scientists rewrite DNA in living cells and organisms, editing the genetic code that defines life itself. The technology has already changed the face of basic research, allowing researchers to alter the DNA of hundreds of organisms.
Powerful real-world applications are on the horizon– the first clinical trials to treat genetic diseases with CRISPR will begin in 2019 and the first genome-edited crop is scheduled for commercial release in 2020. In fact, major developments are probably even closer than we realize. In November, a Chinese scientist announced the births of the first genome-edited human babies, stunning the scientific community and the world.
CRISPR expert and policy analyst, Dr. Megan Hochstrasser, will describe how genome editing works, what it can do, what exactly happened with the “CRISPR babies,” and how important it is to grapple with CRISPR’s ethical implications sooner rather than later.
Dr. Lea Witkowsky is a Policy Analyst at the Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI), a non-profit research partnership between UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco, dedicated to improving and applying genome engineering to solve major world problems. Lea has a B.A. in Chemistry from Willamette University and received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 2016, where she studied mechanisms of gene regulation and CRISPR-based gene editing in human cells. She joined the IGI in September 2017 to work on science policy and help shape the IGI’s engagement activities. Lea runs a monthly ethics discussion group that brings together life scientists, social scientists, lawyers, and ethicists. She aims to inspire and facilitate scientifically informed ethical discussions about genome editing through communications with regulators and policymakers and by convening international events that feature diverse perspectives.