It’s cool when you get to work on a grant proposal with a molecular geneticist with an expertise in genome engineering and editing (e.g., TALEN and CRISPR-Cas9 systems). What’s even cooler is when he also happens to be your college classmate!
I am honored to have the opportunity to collaborate (as an evaluator) with Anil Kumar Challa, Ph.D., my classmate from Banaras Hindu University (Varanasi, India) where we completed our Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Sciences in the late 90s.
The recently National Science Foundation-funded, Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) grant titled, Biology Education using Genome Engineering Technologies, at University of Alabama (UAB), will develop a cohort of teachers who will be able to successfully teach their students in underserved central Alabama high schools an understanding and initial skills through hands-on courses and lab-based experiences in advanced biology.
Anil, as Assistant Professor and a Co-PI on the grant, brings extensive knowledge and experience in experimental designs, project planning, communication, and documentation in genetics and molecular biology to the project. The PI of the grant is J. Michael Wyss.
A bit of genome editing 101.
Genome Editing is the ability to make specific changes at targeted genomic sites-is of fundamental importance to researchers in biology and medicine. Two genome editing technologies have emerged recently that exploit bacterial systems for plant pathogenesis or adaptive immunity: TALEN (Transcription Activator-Like Effector Nucleases) and CRISPR (Clustered, Regularly Interspaced, Short Palindromic Repeats), respectively. Both TALEN and CRISPR use endonucleases that initiate double-strand breaks (DSBs) at virtually any genomic target sequence, and are used for many applications, including gene knockout, transgene knock-in, gene tagging, and correction of genetic defects. While both technologies are popular, the decision to choose one technology over the other is not always clear.
PC: National Cancer Institute/Unsplash.com