Episode Four: The CRISPR Breakthrough
Listen to episode four
Episode length: 30:19
Sickle cell treatments have developed slowly, but partnerships, collaboration, and the scientific revolution of CRISPR gene therapy is offering new promise. How have treatments developed and what are the issues that come with a big step forward? This episode examines the science behind sickle cell therapies, and the potential of a new clinical trial in Oakland.
Episode Four: The CRISPR Breakthrough
Akintunde (Tunde) Ahmad
Tunde is a multimedia journalist focused on the intersection of education, economic inequality, and the justice system. An East Oakland native, he holds a BA in sociology from Yale University and an MS in journalism and documentary film from Columbia University.
Melinda Kliegman, PhD
Dr. Kliegman is the Director of Public Impact at the Innovative Genomics Institute and holds a PhD in Biology from Stanford University. She previously worked at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, advising on the use of genome editing in agriculture and human health. She also spent time with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where she served as a Science Advisor to the Foreign Agricultural Service.
Angela Rivers, MD
Dr. Rivers is s a Pediatric hematologist-oncologist practicing at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals and a Professor of Pediatrics. She was previously the Director of a Sickle Cell Transition program at University of Illinois-Chicago. She completed her fellowship in pediatric hematology and oncology at the University of Florida, her MD at Stanford University and her PhD in Biomedical and Medical Engineering at Meharry Medical College. In 2021, she was named a UCSF School of Medicine John A. Watson Faculty Scholar.
Norma holds Masters’ degrees in Health Sciences and Marital and Family Therapy. She co-founded and was an executive for nonprofits, community clinics, and social service organizations in California and Rwanda. She has received local and national recognition for her social justice work spanning 50 year around physical, mental, and women’s health.
Marsha J. Treadwell, PhD
Dr. Treadwell is a psychologist who cares for children and families living with medical conditions and undergoing treatments, with a special focus on those affected by sickle cell disease. She helps patients and families develop and maintain resilience to better cope with stress. She is Co-Director of the UCSF Sickle Cell Center of Excellence, and Professor in the UCSF Department of Pediatrics Division of Hematology.
Fyodor Urnov, PhD
Dr. Urnov is a Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and Director of Technology and Translation at the Innovative Genomics Institute. His research focuses on advancing genome editing technology and pushing the boundaries of how it can be applied to solve real-world problems.
Elliott Vichinsky, MD
Dr. Vichinsky is a board-certified pediatric hematologist/oncologist with a major interest in understanding and improving the care of patients with hemoglobinopathies. He is the Director of the UCSF Sickle Cell Center of Excellence, Professor in Residence at UCSF, as well as the Director of the Northern California Thalassemia Center.
Mark Walters, MD
Dr. Walters is a Professor in Residence in the UCSF Department of Pediatrics, who specializes in blood and bone marrow transplants. He is also director of the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland. Walters' research focuses on transplant and gene therapy for sickle cell disease and thalassemia – which are both red blood cell disorders that involve abnormalities of hemoglobin (the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen).