Awards

Jacob Corn awarded the prestigious NIH “New Innovator” Grant

IGI Scientific Director of Biomedicine Jacob Corn has received the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award that provides $1.5 million over five years to...

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IGI Scientific Director of Biomedicine Jacob Corn has received the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award that provides $1.5 million over five years to pursue high-risk, high-reward work that could have implications for human health. The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) High-Risk, High-Reward Research program, part of the NIH Common Fund, funded 86 awards to exceptionally creative scientists proposing to use highly innovative approaches to tackle major challenges in biomedical research.

Corn lab will use CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing to explore how cells recycle damaged organs, such as mitochondria. Dysfunction in organelle autophagy has been implicated in diverse diseases, including neurodegeneration, lysosomal storage disorders and cancer.  Corn lab will use next- generation CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing and regulation technologies, combined with cellular biochemistry and imaging to discover the pathways that signal for the remodeling and lysosomal degradation of multiple organelles.  Our work will reveal the mechanisms by which cells maintain organelle homeostasis and respond to organelle damage or stress, which could suggest new strategies to treat diseases associated with improper organelle autophagy.

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Amos Liang receives grant from BrightFocus Foundation to study Alzheimer’s disease

Our postdoctoral fellow Amos Jin Rui Liang will receive $100,000.00 grant from the BrightFocus Foundation for his study of Alzheimer’s...

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Our postdoctoral fellow Amos Jin Rui Liang will receive $100,000.00 grant from the BrightFocus Foundation for his study of Alzheimer’s disease focusing on the “Identification of Novel ER-phagy Proteins that are Implicated in Neurodegeneration” 

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CIRM grants $4M to fund sickle cell translation

The Corn lab and our collaborators have received a $4 million grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) to develop CRISPR-Cas9...

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The Corn lab and our collaborators have received a $4 million grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) to develop CRISPR-Cas9 genome engineering into a cure for sickle cell disease (SCD).

This generous funding will support the fruitful ongoing collaboration between our lab, physicians and sickle cell experts Mark Walters and David Martin of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI), and stem cell and gene therapy specialist Don Kohn of UCLA.  The grant is part of CIRM’s Translational Award program, which aims to move “the most promising projects out of the laboratory and into clinical trials in people.” 

We are very grateful for CIRM’s support, which enables us to establish clinical protocols for gene surgery to cure sickle cell disease. CRISPR cures for genetic diseases are rapidly approaching the clinic, and our research will lay the groundwork for a clinical trial in SCD. Our clinical approach will involve removing stem cells from the bone marrow of sickle cell patients, editing the mutated DNA code with CRISPR-Cas9, and putting the corrected cells back into the patient, where they can persist and spawn healthy red blood cells. 

We recently published proof-of-concept sickle gene editing in Science Translational Medicine, and the funding from CIRM will enable us to improve the efficiency of editing, scale up the process, and perform more extensive studies in animals to ensure safety and accuracy before moving into human clinical trials. Mark DeWitt, a postdoc in the lab and first author on the Science Translational Medicine paper, will become the project’s Program Manager, managing research across the three campuses.

For a more in-depth perspective, read Jacob’s blog post on deploying gene editing to tackle sickle cell disease.

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IGI Researcher Alan Wang Receives NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

IGI Graduate Student Researcher Alan Wang has been awarded a 2016 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.  Alan received his BA in biology and anthropology...

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IGI Graduate Student Researcher Alan Wang has been awarded a 2016 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.  Alan received his BA in biology and anthropology from Amherst College in 2012, working with Professor Dominic Poccia to examine the role of diacylglycerol in shaping biological membranes. He was a research assistant at the NIH and UCSF before joining the IGI as a graduate student in May 2015, using Cas9 to study locus specific protein composition. 

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Press Release

NSF awards 2016 Graduate Research Fellowships 
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program | March 29, 2016

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Questions and/or comments about Corn Lab and its activities may be addressed to:

JACOB.CORN@BIOL.ETHZ.CH

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