MGH Research Scholars Program
The MGH Research Scholars Program was established to support early career researchers with innovative yet unproven ideas that have the potential to transform the future of medicine. Funded 100% through philanthropy, this program gives researchers the freedom and flexibility they need to follow the science wherever it leads. History has shown that brilliant scientists who are given free rein to explore new frontiers make the greatest, often unexpected, advances.
Dr. Joung's lab studies the applications and development of programmable engineered DNA binding domains. The lab focuses primarily on two goals: developing genome-editing technologies and epigenome-editing.
Editing Genes to Study and Treat Disease
The Joung lab develops CRISPR-Cas technologies for editing the genetic material of living cells and organisms and explores the use of these “genome editing” platforms (which enable us to modify gene sequence) for biological research and human therapeutics.
Previous generous support from the MGH Research Scholars program helped Dr. Joung’s lab to do pioneering work in this fast-moving field, with more than 65 publications authored or co-authored in the past five years.
While tremendous progress has been made in genome editing, the Joung lab continues to address three major challenges that will be important for successfully translating CRISPR-Cas technologies into therapies for human disease: (1) optimizing methods to detect where and how frequently unwanted off-target mutations occur throughout the more than three billion base pairs in the genome of a human cell; (2) developing technologies to minimize or eliminate detectable off-target effects; and (3) creating new strategies to enhance the ability of CRISPR-Cas to introduce precise genetic alterations efficiently.