Luciano Marraffini is a microbiologist that pioneered the study of CRISPR-Cas immunity in prokaryotes. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Rosario in Argentina in 1998 and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 2007, studying bacterial pathogenesis in the laboratory of Dr. Olaf Schneewind. He was a postdoc at Northwestern University from 2008 to 2010 with Dr. Erik Sontheimer, where he determined that that CRISPR-Cas systems target DNA molecules in a sequence-specific manner, a study that was key to understand the mechanisms of CRISPR immunity at the molecular level and for the developing of gene editing technologies. In 2010 he joined the faculty of The Rockefeller University. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

Luciano Marraffini's laboratory studies CRISPR-Cas systems, which confer adaptive immunity against plasmid and viral infection of prokaryotes. Molecular genetic and biochemical approaches are used to analyze the genesis and function of these systems and answer fundamental questions about how CRISPR-Cas systems destroy their targets, how the genetic memory of the invader is generated, and how CRISPR-Cas immunity affects the evolution of bacteria and archaea, particularly of bacterial pathogens. By performing detailed analyses of the underlying molecular mechanisms of CRISPR immunity, we aim to facilitate the manipulation of this natural pathway for the development of new technologies.

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Section 44: Microbial Biology