The Myhrvold lab develops CRISPR-based technologies for studying viral and host RNA, with an emphasis on technologies that will allow us to better understand biological processes such as transcriptional regulation and RNA localization. We also apply these technologies to detect and destroy viral RNAs, with a focus on SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19.
Quantitative, highly multiplexed nucleic acid detection with Cas13
We are developing highly multiplexed Cas13-based technologies for quantitative nucleic acid detection. This builds on our massively multiplexed nucleic acid detection technology CARMEN. Initially, we will develop quantitative versions of CARMEN that will allow us to measure gene expression (rather than simply indicating the presence or absence of nucleic acids). We will also develop versions of CARMEN that are easier to deploy widely, allowing people to use CARMEN in resource-limited settings where there are many circulating viral infections.
Applying Cas13 to systematically study host-pathogen interactions
We will perform high-throughput experiments to understand the rules governing Cas13 targeting of viral RNA. We will also apply Cas13 to experimentally study host-pathogen interactions, using viruses such as influenza and SARS-CoV-2 as model systems. Our goal is to take a systems biology approach by simultaneously measuring the dynamics of a core set of viral and host genes involved in infection using CARMEN, while simultaneously altering infection conditions (such as multiplicity of infection, cells type, and viral or host genotype). We will follow up on these experiments with infections in animal models, harvesting cells from many different infected tissues.
Cas13-based technologies to perturb and readout RNA dynamics
CRISPR-Cas9 has revolutionized our ability to study and manipulate genomic information. Developing Cas13-based technologies can revolutionize the way we study and manipulate RNA. We are developing a variety of Cas13-based technologies to perturb and readout RNA in high throughput. We work closely with colleagues in the department to apply our new technologies to study diverse biological problems. Our work will advance the field of RNA biotechnology, allowing us to unlock the secrets of gene expression, regulation, and function.