The 2020 Wolf Prize in Medicine was recently awarded to Gladstone Senior Investigator Jennifer Doudna, PhD. The Wolf Foundation, a state-funded Israeli organization that promotes excellence in the arts and sciences, grants awards annually to celebrate scientists and artists from around the world whose work has made the world a better place.
Doudna received the prize for her discovery of CRISPR-Cas9, a bacterial immune system that has been co-opted by researchers to enable precise gene editing. The Wolf Foundation recognized CRISPR as a medicine-revolutionizing technology with the potential to improve human welfare by leading to novel therapies for genetic and complex diseases.
Doudna’s lab played a central role in defining the structural and mechanistic components of CRISPR, and elucidating its potential applications. She shares the 2020 Medicine Prize with CRISPR co-discoverer Emmanuelle Charpentier, director of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin, Germany.
The great power of CRISPR technology is accompanied by the potential for abuse. The Wolf Foundation also recognized Doudna’s invaluable work in guiding the ethical conversation about how CRISPR technology should be used to improve human health.
In addition to medicine, Wolf Prizes recognize scientific achievements in the areas of agriculture, mathematics, chemistry, and physics. Awards are also given for artistic accomplishments in the areas of painting and sculpting, music, and architecture. The prize ceremony will take place in Jerusalem on June 11, 2020.