Sunnylands applauds Dr. Jennifer Doudna for winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands congratulates Dr. Jennifer Doudna for being named a co-winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Dr. Doudna, a biochemist at the University of California, Berkeley, participated in a November 2017 retreat at Sunnylands aimed at formulating the principles that should guide scientists working at the frontiers of the biological sciences.

Sunnylands convened the retreat, Ethics, Equity & Emerging Technologies: Principles for the 21st Century, jointly with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) and the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Jennifer Doudna

Dr. Jennifer Dounda (center) at the November 2017 retreat on ethical principles in science.

Dr. Doudna shares the Nobel Prize with her research partner, Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier, director of the Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens in Berlin.

Together, the scientists discovered “one of gene technology’s sharpest tools: the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors,” the Royal Swiss Academy of Sciences said in announcing the award. “This technology has had a revolutionary impact on the life sciences, is contributing to new cancer therapies, and may make the dream of curing inherited diseases come true.”

In a 2015 profile of Dr. Doudna, the New York Times said the discovery provided researchers with “a relatively easy way to alter an organism’s DNA, just as a computer user can edit a word in a document,”  giving them new avenues to pursue treatments and cures for various diseases.