Samuel H. Sternberg, PhD
2020 Nathan Kaufman Timely Topics Lecture
Dr. Sternberg runs a research laboratory at Columbia University, where he is an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics. He is a protein-RNA biochemist and internationally recognized expert on CRISPR technology.
Sam received his BA in Biochemistry from Columbia University in 2007, graduating summa cum laude, and his PhD in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 2014. He earned graduate student fellowships from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense, and he 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 Dr. Jennifer Doudna focused on the biology of CRISPR-Cas systems and the development of these systems for genome engineering. 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.
His laboratory is continuing research into the functions and applications of CRISPR–Cas, and more broadly, strives to expand our understanding of the ways in which noncoding RNAs work together with effector proteins to manipulate genetic information and maintain genomic integrity.
In addition to publishing his research in leading journals and speaking internationally, Sam remains actively involved in public outreach and ongoing discussions on the ethical issues surrounding genome editing. Together with Jennifer Doudna, Sam co-authored a popular science trade book about the discovery, development, and applications of CRISPR gene editing technology, which was published in June 2017. Titled A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution, their book received enthusiastic reviews from The Wall Street Journal and The Guardian, among other outlets. The book was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and The New York Review of Books called it “required reading for every concerned citizen.”