CV: Samuel H. Sternberg, Ph.D.

(PDF download)

 

EDUCATION

University of California, Berkeley, CA; 2009 – 2014
Ph.D. in Chemistry
Thesis: Mechanism and engineering of CRISPR-associated endonucleases
Advisor: Professor Jennifer A. Doudna


Columbia University, New York, NY; 2003 – 2007
B.A. in Biochemistry
GPA: 3.98/4.00, graduated summa sum laude with departmental honors
Advisor: Professor Ruben L. Gonzalez, Jr.

 

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

Scientist & Group Leader, Technology Development; October 2016 – present
Caribou Biosciences, Inc., Berkeley, CA
Chief Executive Officer: Rachel Haurwitz
• Advancing novel genome engineering tools and managing four direct reports in the
Technology Development group
• Serving as project lead for two company projects involving eight and five team members


Book author; July 2015 – September 2016
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, NY
Senior editor: Alexander Littlefield
Title: A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution
• Together with Jennifer Doudna, authored a full-length, popular science non-fiction book on
the scientific background, applications, and societal and ethical implications of gene editing
• Researched and drafted the entire book, conducted interviews, and worked with artist on the
illustrations. Published in June 2017


Postdoctoral researcher; January – June 2015
Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, CA
Principal Investigator: Professor Jennifer A. Doudna
Project: Conformational dynamics and molecular mechanism of DNA targeting by CRISPR–Cas9
• Investigated conformational changes of the Cas9 enzyme using fluorescence-based methods
• Completed two projects on biophysical analyses of CRISPR–Cas9, with collaborators Dr.
William Greenleaf at Stanford University, and Dr. Taekjip Ha at the University of Illinois,
Urbana-Champaign (now at Johns Hopkins University)


Ph.D. researcher, thesis; June 2010 – December 2014
Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, CA
Principal Investigator: Professor Jennifer A. Doudna
Project: Mechanistic studies of endonucleases involved in CRISPR–Cas adaptive immunity
• Characterized the substrate specificity of a large library of Cas ribonucleases, and developed
them for applications including RNA affinity purification and viral RNA diagnostics
• Identified the process of target search and recognition used by CRISPR–Cas protein–RNA
complexes, in collaboration with Dr. Greene at Columbia University
• Retooled CRISPR–Cas9 to bind and cleave RNA, developed a split-enzyme variant of Cas9,
and contributed to the cryo-EM determination of Cas9 structures in ligand-bound states


Ph.D. researcher, rotations; September 2009 – May 2010
Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, CA
Principal Investigators: Professors Carlos Bustamante, Jennifer A. Doudna, & Andreas Martin
• Studied transcription by RNA polymerase using optical tweezers; investigated the affinities
of Dicer–TRBP for pre-miRNA substrates; developed methods to study proteasome function


Research assistant; June 2007 – April 2009
Department of Chemistry, Columbia University, New York, NY
Principal Investigator: Professor Ruben L. Gonzalez, Jr.
Project: Conformational dynamics of the ribosome during termination and ribosome recycling
• Developed a single-molecule FRET assay to investigate stop codon recognition by release
factors, and the dissociation of ribosomal subunits during recycling
• Determined how various translation factors control inter-subunit ratcheting of the ribosome
• Helped secure a major grant from the American Cancer Society based on my research


Undergraduate researcher; May 2006 – May 2007
Department of Chemistry, Columbia University, New York, NY
Principal Investigator: Professor Ruben L. Gonzalez, Jr.
Project: See above under “Research assistant”

 

MENTORING & LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCE

Undergraduate and graduate student research mentor; Fall 2011 – Summer 2015
Doudna laboratory, Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, CA
• Directly trained and mentored three undergraduate students and five graduate students


Lead scientist on research collaborations; Summer 2012 – Summer 2015
Doudna laboratory, Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, CA
• Initiated collaborations between the Doudna laboratory and Dr. Eric Greene at Columbia
University; Dr. Eva Nogales at UC Berkeley; Dr. William Greenleaf at Stanford University;
Dr. Taekjip Ha at Johns Hopkins University (formerly at the University of Illinois, Urbana-
Champaign); Dr. David Liu at Harvard University; and Dr. Ahmet Yildiz at UC Berkeley
• Designed experiments, advised students from collaborating groups, contributed data, and
organized and coordinated manuscript writing


Mentor, HHMI EXROP; Summer 2013, Summer 2014
Doudna laboratory, Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, CA
• Mentored an undergraduate student through the Exceptional Research Opportunities Program
(EXROP), which targets undergraduate students from disadvantaged backgrounds and groups
traditionally underrepresented in the sciences


Mentor, SMART Program; Summer 2013
Doudna laboratory, Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, CA
• Mentored an undergraduate student through the Student Mentoring and Research Teams
program, and completed coursework in Mentoring in Higher Education


CRISPR conference co-organizer; June 2012
University of California, Berkeley, CA
• Helped reserve conference location, organize catering and reception orders, chair Q&A
sessions, and coordinate set-up and clean-up operations with other helpers


Undergraduate and graduate student research mentor; Summer 2007 – Spring 2009
Gonzalez laboratory, Department of Chemistry, Columbia University, New York, NY
• Directly trained and mentored one undergraduate student and one MD/PhD student


Undergraduate fellow; Fall 2006 – Spring 2008
Teacher Leader Quality Partnership Program, Columbia University, New York, NY
• Worked with middle school science teachers in Yonkers to improve science education
• Led workshops on curricula development and technology implementation in the classroom

 


TEACHING EXPERIENCE

Graduate student instructor, advanced general chemistry (4B); Spring 2012
Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, CA
• Taught weekly laboratory section associated with lecture course, including pre-lab lecture
Head graduate student instructor, general chemistry (1A)
Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, CA
• Supervised ~45 graduate student instructors assigned to individual sections, and taught
weekly review session offered to ~1,500 students across three lecture courses

Graduate student instructor, general chemistry (1A); Fall 2009
Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, CA
• Taught weekly laboratory section associated with lecture course, including pre-lab lecture

Teaching assistant, general chemistry laboratory (C1500); Summer 2005, Fall 2006
Department of Chemistry, Columbia University, New York, NY
• Taught weekly laboratory section, including pre-lab lecture

 


HONORS AND AWARDS

  • Scaringe Young Scientist Award, RNA Society; 2015
  • Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award; 2015
  • Biophysical Society Education Travel Award; 2013
  • National Defense Science & Engineering Graduate Research Fellowship; 2011 – 2013
  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowship; 2009 – 2014
  • Graduated summa cum laude and with Departmental Honors, Dept. of Chemistry, Columbia University; 2007
  • Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award, Dept. of Chemistry, Columbia University; 2007
  • Phi Betta Kappa, Columbia University; 2007
  • NSF Leadership Travel Award; 2007
  • National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experience for Undergraduates Program, Columbia University (Best student presentation); 2006
  • Irving Langmuir Scholars Program, Columbia University; 2006 – 2007
  • Dean’s List, Columbia University; 2003 – 2007
  • Thomas M. Macioce Scholarship, Columbia University; 2003 – 2006

 


PEER-REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS

  • Dagdas, Y.*, Chen, J.S.*, Sternberg, S.H., Doudna, J.A., Yildiz, A. “A conformational checkpoint between DNA binding and cleavage by CRISPR–Cas9.” In review (2017).
  • Boyle, E.A.*, Andreasson, J.O.L.*, Chircus, L.M.*, Sternberg, S.H., Wu, M.J., Guegler, C.K., Doudna, J.A., Greenleaf, W.J. “High-throughput biochemical profiling reveals Cas9 off-target binding and unbinding heterogeneity.” bioRxiv and in revision (2017).
  • Singh, D., Sternberg, S.H., Fei, J., Doudna, J.A., Ha, T. “Real-time observation of DNA recognition and rejection by the RNA-guided endonuclease Cas9.” Nat Comm 7 (2016): 1–8.
  • Sternberg, S.H.*, Richter, H.*, Charpentier, E., Qimron, U. “Adaptation in CRISPR-Cas systems.” Mol Cell 61 (2016): 797–808.
  • Sternberg, S.H., LaFrance, B., Kaplan, M., Doudna, J.A. “Conformational control of DNA target cleavage by CRISPR-Cas9.” Nature 527 (2015): 110–113.
  • Redding, S., Sternberg, S.H., Marshall, M., Gibb, B., Bhat, P., Guegler, C.K., Wiedenheft, B., Doudna, J.A., Greene, E.C. “Surveillance and processing of foreign DNA by the Escherichia coli CRISPR-Cas system.” Cell 163 (2015): 854–865.
  • Sternberg, S.H., Doudna, J.A. “Expanding the biologist’s toolkit with CRISPR-Cas9.” Mol Cell 58 (2015): 568–574.
  • Baltimore, D., Berg, P., Botchan, M., Carroll, D., Charo, R.A., Church, G., Corn, J.E., Daley, G.Q., Doudna, J.A., Fenner, M., Greely, H.T., Martin, G.S., Penhoet, E., Puck, J., Sternberg, S.H., Weissman, J.S., Yamamoto, K.R. “A prudent path forward for genomic engineering and germline gene modification.” Science 348 (2015): 36–38.
  • Wright, A.V.*, Sternberg, S.H.*, Taylor, D.W., Staahl, B.T., Bardales, J.A., Kornfeld, J.E., Doudna, J.A. “Rational design of a split-Cas9 enzyme complex.” PNAS 112 (2015): 2984–2989.
  • O’Connell, M.R., Oakes, B.L., Sternberg, S.H., East-Seletsky, A., Kaplan, M., Doudna, J.A. “Programmable RNA recognition and cleavage by CRISPR/Cas9.” Nature 516 (2014): 263–266.
  • Hochstrasser, M.L.*, Taylor, D.W.*, Bhat, P., Guegler, C.K., Sternberg, S.H., Nogales, E., Doudna, J.A. “CasA mediates Cas3-catalyzed target degradation during CRISPR RNA-guided interference.” PNAS 111 (2014): 6618–6623.
  • Jinek, M.*, Jiang, F.*, Taylor, D.W*., Sternberg, S.H.*, Kaya, E., Ma, E., Anders, C., Hauer, M., Zhou, K., Lin, S., Kaplan, M., Iavarone, A.T., Charpentier, E., Nogales, E., Doudna, J.A. “Structures of Cas9 endonucleases reveal RNA-mediated conformational activation.” Science 343 (2014): 1247997-1–11.
  • Sternberg, S.H.*, Redding, S.*, Jinek, M., Greene, E.C., Doudna, J.A. “DNA interrogation by the CRISPR RNA-guided endonuclease Cas9.” Nature 507 (2014): 62–67.
  • Haurwitz, R.E., Sternberg, S.H., Doudna, J.A. “Csy4 relies on an unusual catalytic dyad to position and cleave CRISPR RNA.” EMBO J 31 (2012): 2824–2832.
  • Sternberg, S.H., Haurwitz, R.E., Doudna, J.A. “Mechanism of substrate selection by a highly specific CRISPR endoribonuclease.” RNA 18 (2012): 661–672.
  • Wiedenheft, B., Sternberg, S.H., Doudna, J.A. “RNA-guided genetic silencing systems in bacteria and archaea.” Nature 482 (2012): 331–338.
  • Chakravarthy, S., Sternberg, S.H., Kellenberger, C.A., Doudna, J.A. “Substrate-specific kinetics of Dicer-catalyzed RNA processing.” J Mol Biol 404 (2010): 392–402.
  • Fei, J., Wang, J., Sternberg, S.H., MacDougall, D.D., Elvekrog, M.M., Pulukkunat, D.K., Englander, M.T., Gonzalez, R.L. “A highly purified, fluorescently labeled in vitro translation system for single-molecule studies of protein synthesis.” Meth Enzymol 472 (2010): 221–259.
  • Sternberg, S.H., Fei, J., Prywes, N., McGrath, K.A., Gonzalez, R.L. “Translation factors direct intrinsic ribosome dynamics during translation termination and ribosome recycling.” Nat Struct Mol Biol 16 (2009): 861–868.

*These authors contributed equally.

 

NON-PEER-REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS

  • Doudna, J.A.*, Sternberg, S.H.* A Crack in Creation: Gene editing and the unthinkable power to control evolution. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017.
  • Sternberg, S.H. “Risky Business: A research’s death spurs an overhaul of safety at the UCs.” The Berkeley Science Review, Spring 2013.
  • Sternberg, S.H. “Germ Warfare: Bacteria and viruses adapt for battle.” The Berkeley Science Review, Fall 2012.

*These authors contributed equally.

 

PATENTS PENDING

  • Sternberg, S.H., Doudna, J.A. Methods of Cas9 Activation. Invention disclosure filed.
  • Sternberg, S.H, Doudna, J.A., LaFrance, B., Chen, J.S. Reporter Cas9 Variants and Methods of Use Thereof. PCT Patent Application No. PCT/US2016/036754. Filed June 9, 2016.
  • Sternberg, S.H., Doudna, J.A. Cas9 Variants and Methods of Use Thereof. PCT Patent Application No. PCT/US16/35301. Filed June 1, 2016.
  • Sternberg, S.H., Doudna, J.A., Wright, A.V. Heterodimeric Cas9 and Methods of Use Thereof. PCT Patent Application No. PCT/US16/12470. Filed January 7, 2016.
  • Doudna, J.A., Sternberg, S.H., Jinek, M., Jiang, F., Kaya, E., Taylor, D.W. Cas9 Crystals and Methods of Use Thereof. PCT Patent Application No. PCT/US2014/072590. Filed December 29, 2014.
  • Doudna, J.A., Sternberg, S.H., O’Connell, M.R., Oakes, B.L. Methods and Compositions for Modifying a Single Stranded Target Nucleic Acid. PCT Patent Application No. PCT/US2014/069730. Filed December 11, 2014.
  • Doudna, J.A., Jinek, M., Sternberg, S.H. Endoribonucleases and Methods of Use Thereof. PCT Patent Application No. PCT/US2013/045602. Filed June 13, 2013.
  • Gonzalez, R.L., Sternberg, S.H., Pulukkunat, D.K. Fluorescence-Based Approach to Monitor Release Factor-Catalyzed Termination of Protein Synthesis. U.S. Patent Application No. 13/407,438. Filed February 28, 2012.

 

SELECTED INVITED TALKS AND PUBLIC PRESENTATIONS

  • Sternberg, S.H. “Prospects of genome editing in the human germline using CRISPR–Cas9.” StartART: Annual REI Nursing Congress, Las Vegas, NV, USA; August 4, 2016.
  • Sternberg, S.H., interview with Guy Raz. “Who are we?”. TED Radio Hour. Podcast audio, July 15, 2016. Audio available at <http://www.npr.org/2016/07/15/485706102/how-will-cut-and-paste-technology-rewrite-our-dna>.
  • Sternberg, S.H. “Molecular mechanism of DNA cleavage by CRISPR–Cas9.” CRISPR–Cas9: Breakthroughs and challenges, Inserm workshop, Bordeaux, France; April 6, 2016.
  • Sternberg, S.H. “Editing DNA with CRISPR: From GMO yogurt to designer babies.” J.P. McCaskey High School, Lancaster, PA, USA; March 21, 2016.
  • Sternberg, S.H. “Editing the genome with CRISPR: From GMO yogurt to designer babies.” Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, PA, USA; January 21, 2016. Video available at: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQxvHBl4zDc>.
  • Sternberg, S.H. “Conformational control of DNA target cleavage by CRISPR-Cas9.” CRISPR Summit, London, England; December 8, 2015.
  • Sternberg, S.H. “DNA interrogation by the CRISPR RNA-guided endonuclease Cas9.” Medical Research Council-Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, England; December 7, 2015.
  • Sternberg, S.H. “What if we could rewrite the human genome?” TEDMED, Palm Springs, CA, USA; November 18, 2015. Video available at <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSL3k9ezGoA>.
  • Sternberg, S.H. “DNA interrogation by the RNA-guided endonuclease Cas9.” Cramer Lab Annual Workshop, Kreuth, Germany; October 2, 2015.
  • Sternberg, S.H. “Cracking the CRISPR code: How discoveries in bacteria transformed genetic engineering.” Carl-Benz High School, Ladenburg, Germany; September 29, 2015.
  • Sternberg, S.H. “DNA interrogation by the CRISPR RNA-guided endonuclease Cas9.” Harold Weintraub Graduate Student Award Symposium, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA, USA; May 1, 2015.
  • Sternberg, S.H. “DNA interrogation by the CRISPR RNA-guided endonuclease Cas9.” Department of Molecular Genetics, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel; February 10, 2015.
  • Sternberg, S.H. “Mechanism and engineering of the CRISPR RNA-guided endonuclease Cas9.” Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel; February 9, 2015.
  • Sternberg, S.H. “DNA interrogation by the CRISPR RNA-guided endonuclease Cas9.” Antiviral Defense Mechanisms Symposium, Wageningen, Netherlands; October 8, 2014.
  • Sternberg, S.H. “DNA interrogation by the CRISPR RNA-guided endonuclease Cas9.” Systems Biology of Gene Regulation and Genome Editing, Cold Spring Harbor Asia, Suzhou, China; September 11, 2014.
  • Sternberg, S.H. “DNA interrogation by the CRISPR RNA-guided endonuclease Cas9.” Genome Engineering: Theory into Practice, Bentley University, Boston, MA, USA; June 20, 2014.
  • Sternberg, S.H. “DNA interrogation by the CRISPR RNA-guided endonuclease Cas9.” German Cancer Research Center, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany. May 23, 2014.
  • Sternberg, S.H. “DNA interrogation by the CRISPR RNA-guided endonuclease Cas9.” Max-Delbrück-Center for Molecular Medicine, Berlin, Germany; May 13, 2014.
  • Sternberg, S.H. “DNA interrogation by the CRISPR RNA-guided endonuclease Cas9.” Broad Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA; April 14, 2014.
  • Sternberg, S.H. “Mechanism of DNA interrogation by the CRISPR RNA-guided endonuclease Cas9.” Biosciences & Biotechnology Division Seminar, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA, USA; January 16, 2014.
  • Sternberg, S.H. “Mechanism of DNA interrogation by the CRISPR RNA-guided endonuclease Cas9." Walter Lab Group Meeting, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA; January 7, 2014.
  • Sternberg, S.H. “Structural and mechanistic insights into DNA targeting by the CRISPR RNA-guided endonuclease Cas9.” Biology Departmental Seminar, Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, PA, USA; October 8, 2013.
  • Sternberg, S.H. “Mechanism of DNA Target Search and Cleavage by an RNA-Programmed CRISPR Endonuclease.” Microbes Meeting, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL, USA; April 4, 2013.
  • Sternberg, S.H. “DNA Curtains: 100s of Single Molecule Experiments at a Time.” Immunology &Infectious Disease Departmental Seminar, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT, USA; February 26, 2013.

 

SELECTED CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS

  • Sternberg, S.H. “Conformational control of DNA target cleavage by CRISPR-Cas9.” CRISPR 2015 Meeting, New York, NY, USA; June 18, 2015. Oral.
  • Sternberg, S.H. “Rational design of split-Cas9 for genome engineering.” RNA Society Meeting, Madison, WI, USA; May 29, 2015. Oral.
  • Sternberg, S.H. “Rational design of split-Cas9 for genome engineering.” Keystone Symposium (Precision Genome Engineering and Synthetic Biology), Big Sky, MT, USA; January 12, 2015. Oral and poster.
  • Sternberg, S.H. “DNA interrogation by the CRISPR RNA-guided endonuclease Cas9.” Re-writing Genomes: A New Era in Genome Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA; August 25, 2014. Poster.
  • Sternberg, S.H. “DNA interrogation by the CRISPR RNA-guided endonuclease Cas9.” Molecular Machines: Lessons from Integrating Structure, Biophysics and Chemistry, EMBL Heidelberg, Germany; May 18-21, 2014. Poster.
  • Sternberg, S.H. “DNA interrogation by the CRISPR RNA-guided endonuclease Cas9.” CRISPR 2014, Berlin Germany; May 14-16, 2014. Poster.
  • Sternberg, S.H. “DNA interrogation by the CRISPR RNA-guided endonuclease Cas9.” Keystone Symposium (Long non-coding RNAs), Santa Fe, NM, USA; March 1, 2014. Oral and poster.
  • Sternberg, S.H. “Mechanism of DNA interrogation by the CRISPR RNA-guided endonuclease Cas9.” Bay Area Genome Engineering Forum, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA; November 25, 2013. Oral.
  • Sternberg, S.H. “Mechanism of DNA Target Search and Recognition by the CRISPR RNA-guided Endonuclease Cas9.” Re-writing Genomes Symposium, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA; August 26, 2013. Poster.
  • Sternberg, S.H. “Mechanism of DNA Target Search and Cleavage by an RNA-Programmed CRISPR Endonuclease.” Center for RNA Systems Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA; June 26, 2013. Oral.
  • Sternberg, S.H. “Single-molecule observation of DNA targeting and cleavage by the RNA-guided Cas9 endonuclease.” RNA Society Meeting, Davos, Switzerland; June 14, 2013. Oral.
  • Sternberg, S.H. “Single-molecule observation of viral DNA targeting by CRISPR/Cas immune systems.” Biophysical Society Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, USA; February 4, 2013. Oral.

 

PROFESSIONAL SOCIETY MEMBERSHIPS

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Biochemical Society
  • Biophysical Society
  • RNA Society