Professor George Church (Harvard Medical School), the CCV's director, has several times developed innovations that exhibited improvement factors of 10 or more in scale or power compared to contemporaneous commercial collaborators. Professor Church led a prior Molecular Genomics and Imaging CEGS (MGIC) that consistently developed improved sequencing methods ~2 years ahead of commercial efforts which later adapted many of his laboratories innovations: Under him, MGIC demonstrated his initial polymerase colony (polony) methods in 2003, versions of which are now widely used commercially (Illumina, ABI), while in 2005 MGIC developed sequencing by ligation, versions of which have been used in ABI SOLiD and Complete Genomics. Another example is in DNA synthesis, where he has led the way in synthesis and use of complex oligo mixtures cleaved from arrays for large construct assembly and targeted sequencing, and where in the course of four years he has advanced from 4000 90-mer to 54000 150-mer oligo arrays. In 2011, George Church won the prestigious Bower Award for Achievement in Science and was also elected to the National Academy of Sciences. In 2013 he was cited as being one of the top translational researchers in biotechnology.
Dr. George Q. Daley’s (Harvard Medical School, Children’s Hospital, HHMI) work has transformed the field of stem cell development and differentiation. He is an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the recipient of numerous awards, including the first NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, the Daland Prize from the American Philosophical Society, the E. Mead Johnson Prize from the Society for Pediatric Research, and the E. Donnall Thomas Prize from the American Society of Hematology. Dr. Daley’s work focuses on hematopoietic development, somatic cell reprogramming, and the genetic mechanisms that predispose to malignancy. Within the context of the CCV, his lab is pursuing the use of induced Pluripotent Stem (iPS) cells to probe genetic and epigenetic mechanisms relevant to disease modeling and genotype-phenotype correlations.
Dr. J. Keith Joung (Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital) is a leading expert on the development of gene-editing nucleases for human cell engineering and gene targeting. He is the recipient of a NIH Director’s Pioneer Award and is the Jim and Ann Orr Research Scholar at MGH. He is the leader and co-founder of the Zinc Finger Consortium, which was established to ensure and to promote continued research and development of engineered zinc finger technology. Dr. Joung and his laboratory have developed zinc finger engineering platforms that are robust, user-friendly, and freely available to the academic scientific community. His group has also been developing CRISPR- and TALE-based methods for engineering the genomes of human cells and model organisms, as well as methods for rapid assembly of TALEs.
Professor Kun Zhang (UCSD) developed innovative methods for long range haplotyping, single cell genome sequencing, targeted sequencing, and measurement of allele-specific expression, as a post-doc in the Church Lab, where he was a member of the MGIC team and also worked on methods for targeted exon sequencing in connection with an NHLBI grant (HLB08-004). Professor Zhang is the Principal Investigator of an NIH center that is developing methods of sequencing the RNA in situ in single cells in the human brain (1U01MH098977-01)