Image of micro test tubes

How a Crispr Lab Became a Pop-Up Covid Testing Center

Like many of the first 6.7 million Americans asked to shelter in place, Enrique Lin Shiao was spending more time than usual on Twitter. The molecular biophysicist had moved to the Bay Area in September to join Crispr luminary Jennifer Doudna’s lab at UC Berkeley. Among his projects was improving the widely used genome editing technology so that it could cut and paste long strings of DNA instead of just making simple cuts. But on March 16, local health officials ordered residents of six Bay Area counties to stay at home to prevent the further spread of Covid-19. So he stayed home, and scrolled.

Then a tweet from UC Berkeley’s Innovative Genomics Institute dropped into his timeline. “We are working as hard as possible to establish clinical #COVID19 testing capability @UCBerkeley campus,” it read, with a link to a volunteer sign-up page. Lin Shiao clicked.


Genomics, Infectious Disease


UC Berkeley



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