Samuel H. Sternberg, PhD, is an assistant professor at Columbia University in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, where he runs a research laboratory.
Sam is a protein-RNA biochemist and CRISPR expert, and he is the co-author, along with Jennifer Doudna, of A Crack in Creation, a popular science book about the discovery, development, and applications of CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology.
Sam received his B.A. in Biochemistry from Columbia University in 2007, graduating summa cum laude, and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 2014. He received graduate student fellowships from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense, and was awarded the Scaringe Award from the RNA Society and the Harold Weintraub Graduate Student Award from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Sam's doctoral research in the laboratory of Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator Dr. Jennifer Doudna focused on the mechanism of DNA targeting by RNA-guided bacterial immune systems (CRISPR—Cas9) and on the development of these systems for genome engineering applications. His work has been published in the journals Nature, Science, and Cell, and been covered in The New York Times, Science News, The Scientist, and various other news outlets. He was a co-author of an article in Science that proposed a moratorium on editing the human germline until safety and societal implications are broadly discussed.
Sam is an invited speaker internationally, presenting his research to audiences in China, Israel, Germany, Belgium, England, and throughout the United States.
He was a featured TEDMED 2015 speaker on the transformative potential of CRISPR—Cas9, and is actively involved in public discussions on the ethical issues surrounding genome editing of human cells.