Leading researchers in CRISPR shared their knowledge at SUND – University of Copenhagen

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26 September 2016

Leading researchers in CRISPR shared their knowledge at SUND

Cancer

Last week the world’s leading CRISPR scientists participated in a large and ambitious conference at SUND. They gathered to share the newest knowledge on CRISPR and define new perspectives for future research.

Last week SUND was the host for an ambitious conference with leading researchers on the new and widely publicized CRISPR-technology. More than 400 people stopped by the Lundsgaard Auditorium, where Dean Ulla Wewer opened the CRISPR conference by urging participants to use the conference as a springboard to network and discuss their research.

"CRISPR technology is a Game Changer. It is a technology that is constantly developing and which also affects the scientific landscape. Use this conference as an opportunity to share your experiences. Talk to each other. Talk about your projects. Discuss the results which were never published in the literature and talk about all the data that did not work, but is still important in the big picture. A good dialogue is important. This is how we move research forward and this is how we create results for the future," Ulla Wewer said in her opening speech.

A rapidly evolving technology
In popular terms, the technology enables gene modification and editing.

“CRISPR-technology is cheap, easy to use, and efficient, and is opening new avenues how to conduct biomedical research. That is why everybody is so exited about it! And CRISPR is still further developing at an amazing speed: New applications, new variants, and optimized protocols.  So we’re hoping that this conference will provide us with a snapshot of how far we have actually come with CRISPR. In addition, we also hope that by gathering internationally leading experts, we’ll be able to promote and encourage networking possibilities, as this will allow us to discuss challenges but also possible solutions. We wish to drive the research forward, thus enabling the future use of CRISPR in treatments of hereditary or acquired diseases such as haemophilia or HIV / AIDS,” says Professor Cord Brakebusch, a group leader at BRIC, the University of Copenhagen.

Denmark has a strong focus on CRISPR
CRISPR-technology saw the light of day a few years back, when researchers found a protein that was able to cut DNA at a specific location defined by the researcher. For this, the protein uses an RNA sequence to find out exactly where to cut the DNA; a problem research had previously only been able to address by way of long and difficult processes. This technology, on the other hand, enables entirely new approaches to pushing genetic research forward, and Denmark is at the front of this development.

“As soon as the technology saw the light of day, the University of Copenhagen was quick to recognize the perspectives involved, and so the university supported continued research, which alongside the work of highly skilful researchers, contributed to the fact that today, we have some of the strongest resources in the field. Denmark’s strong position in the field of CRISPR is a good example of how vital early support is if you wish to stay ahead in any important field of research. It’s important both in relation to a knowledge-based society, but naturally, first and foremost to future patients, who will in the long run benefit from our research,” Cord Brakebusch, explains. In a few years, according to Brakebusch, CRISPR will be a fully integrated part of the everyday life of a genetic scientist.

The University of Copenhagen is internationally recognized for its production of transgenic mice, tailored to specific research projects by way of CRISPR. Genetic modifications can make mice better models for human diseases and thus increase the relevance of the results obtained. As a consequence, using less mice one achieves better results, which contributes to the aim of minimizing the number of animals sacrificed for research.

The conference: “GRISPR genome editing: From high-throughput screening to disease models” took place on Thursday 22 September and Friday 23 September at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, the University of Copenhagen. It has been organized in collaboration with Aarhus University.

Please contact:

Press Coordinator Kristine Snedker

Email: Kristine.snedker@sund.ku.dk

Mobile phone: +45 2364 8842