PRWeek Awards

Thermal is proud to be a PRWeek 2020 Awards Finalist in the Best in a Crisis category for our work in safeguarded the reputation of CRISPR gene editing technology — “the scientific breakthrough of the century” — particularly after a shockingly unethical misuse of humankind’s most critical technology.

Since 2016, we have led the PR industry in our approach and management of all CRISPR gene editing related communications. 

Through a curated mix of creative high-reach strategies, we actively assist CRISPR co-inventor Dr. Jennifer Doudna’s global efforts to advance the public’s understanding of the relevance and potential of the technology – its applications, risks, opportunities, and it’s responsible application.

The use of CRISPR as a genome engineering tool was first proposed in 2012. The public really took notice of it in November 2018 when a rogue scientist rocked the world by announcing the birth of CRISPR gene edited twin baby girls. Genetically modified humans were now a reality and the public recoiled in horror sparking an international debate about whether CRISPR technology is too dangerous for us to control and apply responsibly intensified.

The shock and fallout from this #CRISPRbabies situation required minute-by-minute coordination with more than 20 leading researchers and organizations including the U.S. Senate, National Academy of Sciences, National Institutes of Health, The Vatican, etc. Led by Dr. Doudna, we supported multiple aspects of the effort to clarify the situation and deploy a long-term, 24/7 multi-channel communications response.

The goal was to ensure the public understood that the misguided act of one reckless scientist should not derail a promising technology that can, if used responsibly, improve our way of life. 



Our effort resulted in more than 400 pieces of featured editorial coverage in tier 1 media with an average domain authority of 85%, reaching an online readership of 15 billion and resulting in 33 million unique coverage views plus 8 million social media views. 

We pitched, coordinated, storyboarded, and wrote opinion editorials and narratives for the most impactful coverage of CRISPR technology, including CNN, BBC, Bloomberg, NBC News, AP, Reuters, Netflix, etc. and over 30 cover stories for WIRED, TIME, MIT Technology Review, National Geographic, TechCrunch, The New York Times Magazine, etc. and “Human Nature” — the award-winning, definitive documentary film on CRISPR.


“As the scientific community now works to establish stronger safeguards, He’s fateful decision to ignore the basic medical mantra of “do no harm” and risk the unintended consequences will likely be remembered as one of the most shocking misapplications of any scientific tool in our history.”

Dr. Jennifer Doudna – Co-inventor of CRISPR-Cas genome editing in TIME


These holistic efforts continue to this day and extend to patent litigation PR support, materials development, government relations, disease awareness campaigns, reputation management, diagnostic and drug development milestone support, and more. 

We are honored to work with Dr. Doudna and her team and proud that our work together in diffusing the global panic and bolstering the public’s understanding of CRISPR’s potential has been recognized by PRWeek as a PRWeek Award – Best in a Crisis finalist for 2020. 


online readership


unique coverage views


This is a unique website which will require a more modern browser to work!

Please upgrade today!