Omar Abudayyeh

What if CRISPR could not only treat disease, but detect it too?

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About Omar Abudayyeh

Omar is a sixth-year MD/PhD student in the Harvard–MIT Program of Health Sciences and Technology. He received his B.S. in mechanical and biological engineering from MIT in 2012, where he was awarded the top prize in the engineering school. In his graduate studies in Feng Zhang’s lab at the Broad Institute, he has co-lead studies reporting the discovery and characterization of novel CRISPR enzymes, including the first single-enzyme RNA-targeting CRISPR-Cas system (CRISPR-Cas13a). He later developed the Cas13a system into the SHERLOCK platform for nucleic acid detection. His work has resulted in 20 research publications in journals, such as Nature, Science, and Cell and has been funded through the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship, National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship, and the NIH National Research Service Award.

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About This Idea

Omar Abudayyeh, a MD/PhD student at the Broad Institute, is part of a team working on a new application for CRISPR technology. Rather than using it to edit genomes, as it has been used in the past, the team is using the technology to detect viruses, bacteria, and cancer at attomolar levels, allowing for highly accurate diagnosis with small amounts of sample. Check out Omar’s 2017 TEDMED Hive Talk to learn more about how this simple and inexpensive diagnostic tool has the potential to make a big impact.

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More Talks from the Hive

These talks are all a part of special session at TEDMED, called "Audacious" where we invite our innovators to take the stage and share the central idea they are working on, in short 2-minute talks. These talks are creatively grouped by 4 mini-segments, that serves as a creative link between each talk. To find out more visit The Hive page.