Genome editing for the microbial world
Microbes live in communities in, on, and around us, shaping human biology and the world through their collective behavior. An unbalanced human microbiome underlies a growing list of diseases, including cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and antibiotic-resistant infections. Microbes also influence the increasing greenhouse gas concentrations that threaten all life on Earth. The Berkeley Initiative for Optimized Microbiome Editing (BIOME) at the IGI is unlocking the power of CRISPR to understand microbial communities and precisely edit them in their natural environments. Our aim is to enable safe and wide-ranging solutions to currently intractable problems. Specifically, our research areas are:
Announced in April 2023, the IGI received $70M in funding through the Audacious Project, an initiative housed at TED, to apply precision genome editing to microbial communities for climate change and human health applications.
The work on this initiative will be led by the BIOME PIs in collaboration with UC Davis and UCSF to enable translation of these technologies to field and clinical studies. The initiative is targeting two initial applications: reducing methane emissions from livestock, and preventing childhood asthma.
Learn more about this initiative:
Rubin BE, Diamond S, Cress BF, Crits-Christoph A, Lou YC, Borges AL, Shivram H, He C, Xu M, Zhou Z, Smith SJ, Rovinsky R, Smock DCJ, Tang K, Owens TK, Krishnappa N, Sachdeva R, Barrangou R, Deutschbauer AM, Banfield JF, and Doudna JA. Nature Microbiology(2021)
Funding for the Berkeley Initiative for Optimized Microbiome Editing comes from the Shurl & Kay Curci Foundation and anonymous donors though the Audacious Project, an initiative of TED.