Young People's

Molecular Surgery with CRISPR-Cas9

Professor David Hornby
4th February 2019, 7:00pm
Manchester Conference Centre (Sackville Street)
The field of Genetic Engineering was born out of fundamental research into bacterial defence mechanisms against viral infection (termed restriction and modification). During the 1970s companies such as Genentech (Genetic Engineering Technology) in Silicon Valley and Biogen in Europe began to translate these discoveries into pioneering medical applications. 
By the middle of the 1980s the new Biotech companies were producing recombinant insulin, anti-hepatitis vaccines and recombinant human growth hormones. With the completion of the Human Genome project in 2000, the stage was set for a greater level of intervention into the genetics of human diseases, but the opportunities were limited until the field of bacterial genetics, once again came to the rescue.
 
With the recent discovery of another mechanism enabling certain bacteria to fend off viral infections, this time called CRISPR (or clustered regularly interspersed short palindromic repeats), the last few years have seen the application of this phenomenon in clinical medicine. The combination of CRISPR and an enzyme called Cas9, has opened the way for "genome editing". In my talk, I shall discuss the basic components of bacterial defence systems including CRISPR Cas9 and its current status in molecular medicine including its promise and the challenges that remain.
 
 

About the Speaker

Born into the “crucible” of the chemical industry, Widnes, Lancashire, educated in Liverpool (St. Edwards College) and the University of Sheffield, Professor David Hornby has pursued an interest in the chemistry and biology of enzyme catalysis. He describes himself as a Biochemist. He shifted his focus from metabolic enzymes to the enzymes involved in defending, attacking and repairing the genome. 
His interests extend from molecular genetics to biophysics, incorporating a long history of collaboration with small to medium sized companies in the Biotechnology sector in Europe and the USA. He is also involved in helping to bridge the gap between Science in Schools and Universities and in unearthing the motivation that has driven scientists throughout the ages.