#197 CRISPR Quality Control with Kiana Aran


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We have two special announcements!

Very soon we will be celebrating a decade of DNA Today! That’s right, we released our first episode on September 1st, 2012. It also coincides with our 200th episode. We want to mark these milestones with you on the show. So send in your favorite episode. You can write it, or better yet, record a voice memo sharing your favorite episode and why you enjoy listening to the show. After all, our podcast would not be possible without you loyal listeners. That’s why we want to celebrate together! Send in your voice memo or written message about your fav episode of DNA Today to info@dnapodcast.com. Deadline is August 27th.

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Heather, Dan, Janelle, Steven, Doug, Lynn, Taila, Lorraine, Katherine, Barbara, Jerry, Catherine, Kim, Ashlyn, Pricilla, Jane, Rob, Hari, Vishnu, Leticia, Meli, Wright, Mahfuz, Anne, Laura, Molly, Hibat, Rachael, Carol, Hal, Romer, Joanne

Joining us this week is Dr. Kiana Aran, Associate Professor of Medical Diagnostics and Therapeutics and head of the Aran Lab at Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) where she works to develop CRISPR Quality Control standards.

In addition to her important work at KGI, Dr. Aran is also the Chief Scientific Officer of Cardea Bio, is a visiting Assistant Professor at UC Berkeley, and serves as a Consultant of Drug Delivery and Medical Diagnostics for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She received her undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from the City University of New York in 2007 and her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at the Rutgers University in 2012. She then continued her postdoctoral studies in bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley and was a recipient of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) postdoctoral training fellowship at the Buck Institute for Aging Research in 2015. Her efforts have been recently recognized by many awards in science and STEM including the Clinical OMICs 10 under 40 Award and the Athena Pinnacle Award. Dr. Aran was also the recipient of the NSF Career Award to develop the next generation of electronic sensors, and Nature's Scientific Achievment Award in 2021.

On This Episode We Discuss:

What is CRISPR and how does it work?

How CRISPR is different from other genetic editing technologies

Current standards for therapeutic applications using CRISPR

Potential side effects of CRISPR treatments

The risk for off target CRISPR’d edits (edits in other genes that were not intended)

The CRISPR Quality Control standards that Dr. Aran’s lab is developing


Applications of CRISPR-Cas systems beyond genome editing

Predicting when CRISPR treatments will be clinically available outside of studies

CRISPR babies

Dr. Aran’s most recent NIH grant and future work

Learn more about Dr. Aran’s research by visiting aranlab.org and read about her 1.63 million dollar NIH grant to help set Quality Control Standards for CRISPR Therapies! You can also read the paper that she co-authored in The CRISPR Journal about applications of CRISPR-Cas systems beyond genome editing in 2021. Follow Dr. Aran on Twitter and LinkedIn, and follow the Aran lab on Instagram!

Stay tuned for the next new episode of DNA Today on August 19th, 2022 where we’ll be joined by Sam Sternberg, co-author of A Crack in Creation (who he wrote with Nobel Prize winner, Jennifer Doudna), to continue our discussion about CRISPR! New episodes are released on Fridays. In the meantime, you can binge over 195 other episodes on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, streaming on the website, or any other podcast player by searching, “DNA Today”. Episodes since 2021 are also recorded with video which you can watch on our YouTube channel.

DNA Today is hosted and produced by Kira Dineen. Our social media lead is Corinne Merlino. Our video lead is Amanda Andreoli.

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