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The Jones!Lab loves developing interdisciplinary technologies to reveal how molecular machines operate.

Our favorite machines are CRISPR nucleases, the leading tools for genome engineering.

We are dedicated to uncovering and improving on their extraordinary precision.

Our team leverages high-resolution and high-throughput methods to achieve our goal:

to supply the world's genome engineers with an arsenal of safe and robust editing tools for the lab and clinic.



The Jones Lab uses next-generation biochemistry methods to understand how CRISPR nucleases bind and cleave DNA targets while avoiding other genomic regions. These studies are critical for safe and effective gene editing in plants and animals.


Programmable nucleases  (e.g. CRISPR-Cas9) rely on 'guide' RNAs to direct them to specific targets in the genome. But some gRNAs contain sequences or structures that keep them from fulfilling this role. Our lab seeks to understand why.

Image by National Cancer Institute


Next-generation DNA sequencing (NGS) allows scientists to collect massive biological datasets with ease and economy. The Jones lab links the massive output of NGS with the precision of classical biochemistry. This allows us to quickly and comprehensively characterize the kinetics and sequence specificity of DNA- and RNA-interacting enzymes (CRISPR systems, transcription factors, etc). These data underlie biophysical models for describing and predicting enzyme activity.


Clinical gene editing trials typically rely on one of two programmable nucleases: Cas9 or Cas12a. Why? Because inefficiencies in the discovery and validation pipeline slow our expansion of the gene editing toolbox. To fuel tomorrow's technologies and therapies, we must overcome this challenge.

Our solution? We are designing high-throughput methods to identify, isolate and characterize programmable nucleases and DNA-binding molecules. Like our CHAMP and NucleaSeq technologies, they require integrated, interdisciplinary approaches. These methods will accelerate adoption of new gene editing tools and underpin revelations in the evolution of programmable nuclease mechanisms.

Image by Science in HD
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