Feinberg and Simpson Querrey Institute award Kimberly Prize to CRISPR pioneer Jennifer Doudna


Daily file photo by Katie Pach

The Feinberg School of Medicine. Feinberg and the Simpson Querrey Institute for Epigenetics awarded CRISPR scientist Jennifer Doudna the inaugural Kimberly Prize in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics.

The Feinberg School of Medicine and Simpson Querrey Institute for Epigenetics awarded their inaugural Kimberly Prize in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics to biochemist Jennifer Doudna, Northwestern announced Sept. 14.

Doudna, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, co-developed CRISPR-Cas9, a technology that can alter DNA with significant precision. CRISPR holds promise for the treatment of complex diseases such as cancer and heart disease, according to the National Library of Medicine.

An advocate for ethical usage of genome-editing and CRISPR technology, Doudna received the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her work.

“Jennifer is a wonderful person and scientist and is very generous with her time and talent,” Feinberg Prof. and Simpson Querrey Director Ali Shilatifard said in a news release. “She’s the epitome of what a great scientist should be: Not only wanting to do groundbreaking science, but also wanting to inspire others to do the same.”

The Kimberly Prize is the largest biochemistry award in the U.S., worth $250,000. It is funded by NU trustee Kimberly Querrey in honor of her late husband and NU trustee Louis A. Simpson.

Doudna will deliver a speech at Feinberg’s Chicago campus in the spring to commemorate the honor.

“By establishing this prize, Northwestern University is underscoring the importance of supporting fundamental research for the betterment of society,” Doudna said. “I’m excited about the opportunities ahead of us to further develop and apply tools such as CRISPR technology to help solve real-world challenges.”

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