Personal Genetics Education Project

Drs. Jennifer Doudna & Jamie Cate make a generous gift to pgEd

pgEd is deeply grateful to Professors Jennifer Doudna and Jamie Cate for renewing their commitment to pgEd with a second generous donation. Dr. Doudna and Dr. Cate, who are leading scientists based at the University of California, Berkeley, they believe strongly in the importance of pgEd’s mission to engage all communities about the social and ethical dimensions of genetics, and to ensure that diverse values and voices are heard in these conversations. They have matched their previous support of pgEd from 2016, when Dr. Doudna, known as a pioneer in the development of CRISPR as a tool for genome editing, graciously donated the entirety of her Gairdner Award to pgEd to expand our efforts.

For the past 11 years, pgEd has been working to raise broad awareness and spark conversations about genetics by creating educational materials, providing professional development for teachers, working with writers and producers of film and TV, convening industry and community leaders, and engaging with policymakers through a series of Congressional briefings in Washington, DC. (Dr. Doudna was one of the speakers at our 4th briefing in November 2015.) We used Dr. Doudna’s first gift to advance our goal that all individuals, particularly those from underserved and underrepresented communities, can take part in the conversations about the benefits and implications of new developments in genetic technologies, such as gene editing. In particular, her gift allowed us to bolster our efforts in working together with faith communities, including the work we’ve done together with the Minority Coalition for Precision Medicine (such as the “Precision Medicine and Personal Genetics: Promoting Conversations” meeting of faith-based leaders, community members, and scientists in May 2017). Faith institutions, seen as places of trust by the communities that they serve, can play a unique and important role in engaging people on the very personal questions raised by genetics. pgEd has been working with a number of faith leaders and organizations to start two-way conversations, build trust and establish new partnerships. With this new gift from Dr. Doudna and Dr. Cate, we will broaden and deepen these connections across denominations and faiths.

Once again, pgEd is truly thankful to Dr. Doudna and Dr. Cate for their generous support.