John Zuris, PhDAssociate Director, Editing Technologies at Editas Medicine
John Zuris has long been drawn towards developing protein-based medicines and found a perfect home in the emerging CRISPR field. As a Scientist at Editas Medicine, he heads the Cpf1 group which focuses on using the CRISPR-Cpf1 modality for making better gene editing medicines. His group works at the exciting interfaces of protein design and cell therapy. Prior to joining Editas Medicine, John completed his postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. David Liu (Harvard University-Broad Institute) where he developed a lipid nanoparticle delivery system for CRISPR-Cas9 RNPs which allows for highly efficient genome editing both ex vivo as well as in vivo, as demonstrated in the mammalian inner ear. This delivery technology was later utilized to successfully treat a rare form of deafness in an animal model using genome editing. Before entering the CRISPR-space, he spent his graduate career elucidating the redox and iron-sulfur cluster transfer mechanisms for a novel metalloprotein involved in Type II diabetes. His first opportunity for protein engineering came during those studies when he discovered that he could alter the redox potential of this metalloprotein over a broad range through mutagenesis, showing that this protein could serve as a tool for measuring cellular redox potentials across many organelles, cell types, and tissues. This work lead to the successful completion of his doctoral thesis in the laboratory of Dr. Patricia Jennings at University of California, San Diego. When he is not performing research in the laboratory, John’s passions include hiking and cooking.