IGI

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CRISPR, Genomics, Infectious Disease

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The Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI) is dedicated to advancing genome research for a better world.

Challenge

How can we advance public understanding of the most innovative research in CRISPR and genomics?

The Ethics of CRISPR

 

 

We partnered with its scientific leadership to help explain and discuss the nuanced bioethics surrounding CRISPR, specifically in response to the rogue #CRISPRbabies experiment in 2018, and its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We drove a multi-channel public education campaign that enabled its genomic experts, including executive director and CRISPR pioneer Jennifer Doudna, to intelligibly define the technology’s implications for the future of science and humanity, provide insight on its potential to accelerate diagnostics for infectious diseases including COVID-19, and outline essential steps for preventing further misuse of CRISPR.

Through strategic counsel, international media relations, speaking opportunities, grassroots education efforts, and thought leadership campaigns, we provided responsive, ongoing support to the IGI as it called for widespread regulation that would not stifle the technology — substantiating its role as a crucial voice in the debate over human germline editing.

 

CRISPR-CAS9 3-D PRINTED MODEL

Impact

For four years, we have secured coverage for the IGI’s most pivotal projects, speaking events, and patent and policy discussions in the rapidly advancing field of CRISPR.

Dr. Doudna and other IGI scientists have been featured in more than 400 pieces of tier 1 editorial coverage, reaching 15 billion online readers, 33 million unique coverage views, and 8 million social media views.

Business and trade media outlets covering the evolution of CRISPR research and ethics, such as Business Insider, NBC News, and KQED, now frequently cite the IGI’s leading scientists on germline editing, gene drives, agriculture, infectious disease diagnostics, and societal impact.

 

 

COVID-19 Testing

 

 

COVID-19 disease is our generation’s greatest health threat. At both national and state levels, the public health response to the pandemic has been simultaneously overwhelmed by widespread surges in cases and undermined by testing shortages.

In response, we aided IGI leaders Dr. Jennifer Doudna and Dr. Fyodor Urnov in communicating the launch of a COVID-19 testing initiative to serve 6+ million California residents as well as the first onsite saliva testing services to thousands of university students and employees.

 

Image of Innovative Genomics Institute scientist Fyodor Urnov DR. FYODOR URNOV (IN THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

The team swiftly mobilized academic researchers and industry partners including ThermoFisher and Salesforce to build the pop-up automated testing lab from the ground up.

All the while, we coordinated with major media publications to publicly announce the initiative that would effectively automate the coronavirus testing process, expedite state and local screening results, allow healthcare systems to properly devote key resources to patients, and serve as a model for other organizations and labs across the nation looking to pivot and offer testing.

 

Image of Innovative Genomics Institute team THE IGI TEAM BEHIND THE FAST TRIAL OF SALIVA TESTS FOR COVID-19 (IN TECHCRUNCH)

 

Impact

Our coverage reached more than 4.5 billion online readers and 7 million unique views from global and scientific audiences in more than 100 top-tier outlets such as The Guardian, WIRED, NPR, and STAT News. In interviews on PBS and Bloomberg News.

Using immersive briefings with Congressional leaders and the United Nations Secretary-General, Dr. Doudna explained how the IGI was fulfilling the urgent need to scale up national testing capacity and disease research — through a pledge in collaboration with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the University of California to freely share IP related to COVID-19 research, publication of the first roadmap paper guiding other labs in constructing their own diagnostic centers, and discussion of CRISPR technology in addressing COVID-19 and future threats.

As the IGI expanded its testing efforts through free, rapid diagnostics to essential, frontline, underserved, and underrepresented communities and saliva testing to enable campus reopening, we secured broad tier 1 coverage including the Associated Press, Reuters, KQED, ABC News, and additional features including op-eds and podcast interviews with The Economist and McKinsey & Company.

The IGI’s unique genomic and infectious disease expertise, resources, and partnerships has enabled it to lead the fight against COVID-19 and protect communities in need.

“When the pandemic hit, we asked ourselves, ‘What do we as scientists do to address the COVID-19 health emergency? That effort has focused on testing. We set up a clinical laboratory, we are now getting asymptomatic saliva testing going for the UC Berkeley campus. We hope that if it works well here, we can help disseminate this strategy elsewhere.”

Dr. Jennifer Doudna – Founder, Innovative Genomics Institute

100+

editorial features

4+BN

online readership

6+MM

unique coverage views

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