By Yiming Hu
Trevor Martin, the Co-Founder and CEO of Mammoth Biosciences, is building a CRISPR-based disease detect engine. He earned his PhD in biology from Stanford University. He was featured in Forbes 30 Under 30 list for shaking up diagnostics and believes that people from all backgrounds should take risks to become entrepreneurs.
Trevor Martin, Draper University, Spring 2019
What is CRISPR and why is it important?
CRISPRs are specialized stretches of DNA. The protein Cas9 is an enzyme that acts like a pair of molecular scissors, capable of cutting strands of DNA.
This technology is about human body’s defense mechanisms of bacteria and archaea. These organisms use CRISPR-derived RNA and Cas proteins, protein Cas9 most of the time, to foil attacks by viruses in DNA. The CRISPR-derived RNA and Cas proteins can chop up and destroy the DNA of a foreign invader. This technology allows us to edit our genes and it creates some social opinions.
How can we harness CRISPR for diagnostics?
CRISPR diagnostics is an application of the genome engineering tool for diseases detection. Mammoth Biosciences is aiming to develop diagnostic tests that can detect major diseases by using CRISPR technology. This test requires either people’s blood, urine, or saliva, and the purpose is to extract the needed genetic materials from them.
What is the future for CRISPR-based diagnostics?
CRISPR-based diagnostics is a trend for sure. One day people can go to CVS, Walgreens, or Walmart in their neighborhoods to pick up CRISPR-based diagnostics items and do the test easily. Diagnostic and therapeutic of CRISPR can help people and the crowds can adopt this technology with no fears. It would be super transformative in biotech and healthcare industry. It can help people live healthier and longer which are definitely beneficial for all the human beings.