Monday, January 7, 2019

Solomon Center Scholars Edit Journal Issue on CRISPR Technology

Solomon Center Executive Director Katie Kraschel and Solomon Center Affiliated Scholar Natalie Kofler have coedited an interdisciplinary journal issue on CRISPR gene editing that features work by physicians, biologists, lawyers, industry leaders, and public health experts to describe the pressing issues in the field from multiple perspectives. Their work can be found in the December 2018 issue of Seminars in Perinatology, titled “Gene Editing (CRISPR).”

Kraschel and Kofler were connected through Solomon Center affiliated faculty member Dr. Mark Mercurio, who directs the Yale School of Medicine Program for Biomedical Ethics, and were inspired to undertake the work after Kraschel and Kofler appeared together on a panel exploring the cutting-edge gene editing technology CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced palindromic repeats) hosted by the Solomon Center in the fall of 2017.

The issue Kraschel and Kofler curated contains seven articles exploring the promises and realities of CRISPR technology, especially as these relate to the care of neonates and children. As they note in their introduction, the articles represent the work of “authors hailing from various disciplines, including biomedical research, private industry, law, public health, policy and ethics.”

Among the authors is Yale Law School student and Solomon Center Student Fellow Adam Pan ’19, who coauthored an article with Kraschel exploring the potential of CRISPR to transform perinatal genetic screening by creating novel diagnostic platforms. Kofler and Kraschel also coauthored an article in the issue that examines the potential effects of CRISPR germline editing on reproductive decision-making for individuals with heritable genetic diseases.

“This project reflects the interdisciplinary and collaborative mission of the Solomon Center. Natalie and I share a strong commitment to focusing our work in this space on bringing together often-siloed stakeholders, and I think we accomplished our goal of keeping that commitment at the core of selecting and editing articles,” Kraschel said. “It is also great to get to facilitate opportunities for our students to publish.”

In addition to serving as the Executive Director of the Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy, Kraschel co-teaches the Reproductive Rights and Justice Project Clinic and the Medical-Legal Partnership Seminar at Yale Law School. Previously Kraschel served as Associate Counsel in the Office of the General Counsel at Yale New Haven Hospital and as an associate in the health care practice group at Foley & Lardner in Boston. She began her career as a scientist at Pfizer.

Kofler is the founder of Editing Nature, a multidisciplinary organization that works to ensure gene editing technologies are used to the benefit and not detriment of our planet. Kofler is also an Associate Research Scientist at the Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics and Yale Institute of Biosphere Studies. She has published numerous scholarly papers on CRISPR, including a recent paper on proposed governance mechanisms for CRISPR in the November 2, 2018 issue of the journal Science.