Fyodor Urnov is a Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, Director of the Center for Translational Genomics and Director of Technology & Translation at the IGI. A pioneer in the field of therapeutic genome editing, Fyodor’s research focuses on advancing genome editing technology and pushing the boundaries of how it can be applied to solve real-world problems.
Fyodor trained as an undergraduate in Biology at Moscow State University, and then studied the interplay between chromatin and transcription factors for his Ph.D. at Brown University (with Susan Gerbi) and as a postdoctoral fellow at the NIH (with Alan Wolffe).
In his work at Sangamo Therapeutics (2000–16), Fyodor and colleagues demonstrated the first use of zinc-finger nucleases to edit DNA in human cell and coined the term “genome editing.” Fyodor then led collaborative teams to establish at-scale applications of genome editing for human somatic cell genetics and model animal and crop reverse genetics. Fyodor was a key member of the team that developed the first-in- human application of genome editing (2009), and then led a cross-functional team from basic discovery to IND of first-in-human clinical trials for the hemoglobinopathies beta-thalassemia and sickle cell disease (trials currently ongoing in partnership with UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center).
At the IGI, Fyodor Directs the Center for Translational Genomics, where the focus is on establishing turnkey editing of the human genome for clinical use, and works in collaborative teams to develop first-in-human applications of experimental CRISPR-based therapeutics for sickle cell disease (with Mark Walters, UCSF), genetic disorders of the immune system (with Alexander Marson, UCSF/IGI), radiation injury (with Jonathan Weissman, MIT/Whitehead Institute), cystic fibrosis (with Ross Wilson, IGI), and neurological disorders (with Weill Neurohub and Roche/Genentech).
IGI’s CTG team, directed by Dr. Fyodor Urnov, is working to create a platform to enable new therapies for genetic blood and primary immune disorders, focusing on rare and neglected conditions. With over 5000 genetic diseases needing treatment options, the CTG's aim is to accelerate the timeline from a diagnosis to a cure, and eventually provide customized treatments to individuals living with these conditions.
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