Keynote Speakers
Please welcome our 2023 keynote speakers!

We enjoyed learning from these experts.

Jennifer Doudna, PhD—UC Berkeley

CRISPR Chemistry and Applications in the Clinic

Jennifer Doudna, PhD, is a Nobel Laureate in chemistry, and a professor of biochemistry, biophysics, and structural biology at the University of California-Berkeley. She is the co-inventor of CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology, and earned the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with collaborator Emmanuelle Charpentier, PhD. Her research focuses on RNA as it forms a variety of complex globular structures, some of which function like enzymes or form functional complexes with proteins. Dr. Doudna is also a leader in public discussion of the ethical implications of genome editing for human biology and societies, and advocates for thoughtful approaches to the development of policies around the safe use of CRISPR technology. (Photo credit: Christopher Michel)

Learn more about Dr. Doudna & hear her speak virtually at the Annual Meeting on Wednesday, May 17, 1:30–1:50 p.m. PT.

David R. Liu, PhD—Broad Institute, Harvard University, HHMI​

Base Editing and Prime Editing: Correcting Mutations that Cause Genetic Disease in Cells, Animals, and Patients

David R. Liu, PhD, is the Richard Merkin Professor and director of the Merkin Institute of Transformative Technologies in Healthcare, vice-chair of the faculty at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, the Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of the Natural Sciences at Harvard University, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. His major research interests include the engineering, evolution, and in vivo delivery of genome editing proteins such as base editors and prime editors to study and treat genetic diseases; the evolution of proteins with novel therapeutic potential using phage-assisted continuous evolution (PACE); and the discovery of bioactive synthetic small molecules and synthetic polymers using DNA-templated organic synthesis and DNA-encoded libraries.

Learn more about Dr. Liu & hear him speak on Wednesday, May 17, 1:50-2:20​ p.m. PT.

Crystal Mackall, MD—Stanford University

Expanding the Reach and Efficacy of CAR T Cell Therapies

Crystal Mackall, MD, is the Ernest and Amelia Gallo Family Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at Stanford University. Her work has advanced understanding of fundamental immunology and translated this understanding for the treatment of human disease with a major focus on children’s cancers. In her lab, current areas of major focus include in depth studies of the molecular and cellular processes that govern T-cell exhaustion, identification of new immune targets expressed by cancer and leveraging emerging synthetic biology platforms to create next generation chimeric antigen receptors that manifest enhanced potency, regulatability, multispecificity, and exhaustion resistance. (Image: Stanford Medicine)

Learn more about Dr. Mackall & hear her speak on Thursday, May 18, 10:30–11:15 a.m. PT.

Stanley Riddell, MD—Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center

Realizing the Potential of Genetically Engineered Immune Cells in Cancer Therapy

Stan Riddell, MD, is the Burke O’Reilly Family Endowed Chair in Immunotherapy and an immunology professor at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. His research focuses on detailing the complex biology of T cells and pioneering therapies that use genetically reprogrammed T cells to specifically recognize and destroy diseased cells. In the 1990s, Dr. Riddell and colleagues in his lab performed the first studies of T-cell therapy to block life-threatening reactivation of cytomegalovirus after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT). This work provided the proof-of-principle that antigen-specific T cells can be used in humans to boost T-cell immunity to a virus, and paved the way for studies using T-cell therapy to treat cancer. (Image: Fred Hutch Cancer Center)

Learn more about Dr. Riddell & hear him speak on Thursday, May 18, 11:15 a.m.–12 p.m. PT.

7-2019-Headshot.jpgDavid A. Williams, MD—Harvard Medical School

The Maturation of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Gene Therapy: Of Mice and Men

David A. Williams, MD, is chief of the division of hematology/oncology, and the Leland Fikes Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. As a post-doctoral fellow he developed the use of retrovirus vectors to transduce murine hematopoietic stem cells. His basic research has focused on hematopoietic stem cell biology, including genetic diseases of the blood and specifically molecular and biochemical analysis of the interaction between hematopoietic stem cells and the bone marrow supporting environment. His laboratory has identified the molecular basis of three rare immune deficiency diseases. Dr. Williams is actively involved in gene therapy trials for hematologic, immunodeficiency, and neurological genetic diseases, and has been the investigator/sponsor of multiple human trials. He’s a member of the National Academy of Medicine, a previous editor-in-chief of Molecular Therapy and former President of the American Society of Hematology and the International Society of Experimental Hematology. Dr. Williams also served as coordinating investigator for the pivotal trial for eli-cel,™ which was approved in 2022 and is now marketed as SKYSONA.

Learn more about Dr. Williams & hear him speak on Tuesday, May 16, 3:55–4:40 p.m. PT.

To hear these speakers, register for the 26th Annual Meeting! 
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