Princess of Asturias Award for Emmanuelle Charpentier

HZI scientist honoured for her work on the CRISPR-Cas9 system

28.05.2015

Emmanuelle Charpentier is the head of the department “Regulation in Infection Biology” at the HZI

Prof Emmanuelle Charpentier, head of the Regulation in Infection Biology department at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Braunschweig (HZI), Humboldt Professor at Hannover Medical School and Guest Professor at the Laboratory for Molecular Infection Medicine (MIMS) in Sweden, has been announced as a recipient of this year’s Princess of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research. She shares the prize with her colleague Jennifer Doudna from the University of California in Berkeley, USA.

Charpentier and her team, during her time at Umeå University in Sweden, deciphered an ancient molecular mechanism bacteria use to protect themselves from viruses. Together with Doudna she demonstrated that the CRISPR-Cas9 system can be harnessed into a powerful tool for gene engineering, which is now used in laboratories all over the world. CRISPR-Cas9 allows for targeted editing of genetic material. This so-called genome editing can for instance be used to treat genetic disorders such as cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anemia.

The Princess of Asturias Award is bestowed yearly in eight categories, including Arts, Sports and International Cooperation. Each prize is worth 50,000 Euros. Its patron is the Spanish crown princess Leonor. The awards will be bestowed in October in the presence of the Spanish royal family.

You can find more information on the website of the Fundación Princesa de Asturias.