2022 Winner: Engineering Embryonic Stem Cell Fate Using CRISPR Activation

Project Information
Engineering Embryonic Stem Cell Fate Using CRISPR Activation
BME 198
CRISPR activation (CRISPRa) technology is a cutting-edge biotechnology tool that allows for the specific activation of any gene of interest in cells through epigenome editing and without editing genes. The precision and programmability of CRISPRa makes it an ideal tool to control cell fate in stem cells by inducing the expression of genes that are involved in the differentiation of stem cells. In this study, I designed a straightforward CRISPRa-based strategy to rapidly generate three distinct cell types of early embryonic development from embryonic stem cells. My findings showed that our CRISPRa strategy can be used to induce the expression of proteins to control the differentiation of embryonic stem cells. Our preliminary results show that these cells have the potential to self-organize into the embryo-like structures in the dish. We believe our CRISPRa-induced embryonic cell types will allow us to generate cellular models of the embryo to study the pre-implantation stage of development; a stage of development that remains a “black box” of human development and is a bottleneck for reproduction.
  • Sayaka Kozuki (Nine)