Janice Chen is a recent PhD graduate in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley. She is the co-founder and Chief Research Officer at Mammoth Biosciences, a biotechnology company harnessing a revolutionary gene-editing tool called CRISPR – used for rapid and affordable disease detection.
During her time as a graduate student under CRISPR pioneer Jennifer Doudna, Chen studied how DNA-cutting CRISPR proteins recognize and cut their target, thus enabling more precise gene-editing tools. This investigation also revealed that some DNA-targeting CRISPR proteins have ideal properties for nucleic acid detection, which evolved into a programmable DNA detection technology called DETECTR that Chen co-created. Chen sees the enormous potential in new diagnostic tools developed out of CRISPR biology, from identifying bacterial and viral infections to early cancer detection.