The 5th ISTT Young Investigator Award is attributed to Alexis Komor

Posted by: Benoît Kanzler on Friday, May 5, 2017

The 5th ISTT Young Investigator Award is attributed to Alexis Komor

The International Society for Transgenic Technologies (ISTT) is pleased to announce the awardee for the 5th ISTT Young Investigator Award, generously sponsored by ingenious targeting laboratory (iTL). ISTT created the Young Investigator Award, with one goal: identify and recognize young scientists who will keep the field of transgenic technologies vibrant with new ideas and innovative research. After careful evaluation of the nominated candidates, the Award Evaluation Committee unanimously selected Dr. Alexis Komor. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the research group of Dr. David Liu (Department of Chemestry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA).

Alexis is as an energetic and very talented researcher perfectly fitting with the criteria required for this price. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley and her PhD from CalTech in 2014. Since joining the lab of David Liu, she has made seminal contributions to our understanding of how Cas9 functions. She published her work in how to engineer Cas9 function to avoid double strand breaks leading to random integrations and deletions, yet maintaining the ability to generate a single base change in the DNA. This is of crucial importance, as many genetic diseases are caused by point mutations, and the ability to accurately correct those mutations without introducing additional genomic alterations will be essential for subsequent gene therapy.

Alexis is a very bright young investigator who, as indicated by Dr. Liu, is willing to take on very difficult projects and has experienced great success. She is listed on three patent applications, already has several publications in highly respected journals, and shows great promise for future endeavors in genetic engineering. Interestingly, she is a chemist, and it is her work in biochemistry that will bring new innovations to the field of CRISPR/Cas technology. We are convinced that her research will have a considerable impact on the field of animal transgenesis. Her findings are clearly opening new very promising roads for efficient and precise genome editing at the single base level.

 We are most pleased that Dr. Komor has agreed to receive the ISTT Young Investigator Award, thus joining the list of previously honored scientists, including Pablo Ross (2016), Feng Zhang (2014), Toru Takeo (2013) and Xiao-Yang Zhao (2011). She will present her research at the next 14th Transgenic Technology (TT2017) meeting in Salt Lake City (Utah, USA, 1-4 October 2017) where she will receive the ISTT Young Investigator Award and will deliver a talk summarizing her scientific achievements, giving us a unique opportunity to hear and learn more about major recents achievements of the current key players in the field.

The following articles represent some of her recent published innovative findings, highlighting her most recent contributions to the field.

Kim, Y. B., Komor, A. C.; Levy, J. M., Packer, M. S., Zhao, K. T. and Liu, D. R. Expanding the targeting scope of base editing with engineered Cas9-cytidine deaminase fusions. Nat. Biotechnol. 2017, doi:10.1038/nbt.3803.

Komor, A. C.; Badran, A. H. and Liu, D. R. CRISPR-based technologies for the manipulation of eukaryotic genomes. Cell 2017, 168, 20-36.

Komor, A. C., Kim, Y. B., Packer, M. S. and Liu, D. R. Programmable editing of a target base in genomic DNA without double-stranded DNA cleavage. Nature 2016, 533, 420-424.

Komor, A. C. and Barton, J. K. An Unusual ligand coordination gives rise to a new family of rhodium metalloinsertors with improved selectivity and potency. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 14160-14172.

Weidmann, A. G., Komor, A. C. and Barton, J. K. Targeted therapy with metal complexes. Comment. Inorg. Chem. 2014, 34, 1-10.

Bailis, J. M., Gordon, M. L., Gurgel, J. L., Komor, A. C., Barton, J. K. and Kirsch, I. R. An inducible, isogenic cancer cell line system for targeting the state of mismatch repair deficiency. PLOS ONE, 2013, 10, e78726.

Weidmann, A. G., Komor, A. C. and Barton, J. K. Biological effects of simple changes in functionality on rhodium metalloinsertors. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. A., 2013, 371, 20120117.

Komor, A. C. and Barton, J. K. The path for metal complexes to a DNA target. Chem. Commun. 2013, 49, 3617-3630. (Cover Article)

Komor, A. C., Schneider, C. J., Weidmann, A. G. and Barton, J. K. Cell-selective activity of rhodium metalloinsertors correlates with subcellular localization. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 134, 19223-19233.

Ernst, R. J., Komor, A. C. and Barton, J. K. Selective cytotoxicity of rhodium metalloinsertors in Mismatch Repair-Deficient Cells. Biochemistry 2011, 50, 10919-10928.

Soo, H. S., Komor, A. C.; Iavarone, A. T. and Chang, C. J. A hydrogen-bond facilitated cycle for oxygen reduction by an acid- and base-compatible iron platform. Inorg. Chem. 2009, 48, 10024-10035.

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