The “nuts and bolts” of CRISPR-Cas technology and its use against antimicrobial resistance in the food chain

Wednesday, 8 Sep 2021 7:30 pm
Joss Lazenby BSc
University of Reading · School of Biological Sciences


Royal Agricultural University - Sir Emrys Jones Lecture Theatre

Sir Emrys Jones Lecture Theatre, RAU, Cirencester GL7 6JS


CRISPR-Cas9 technology has revolutionised biology through the quick and easy manipulation of human, animal and microbial genomes. CRISPR-mediated gene editing has incredible therapeutic potential, as has been in shown in early studies where it is used to cure blood diseases such as sickle cell disease.

CRISPR-Cas systems are originally derived from bacteria, where they function as adaptive immune systems and protect their hosts from viral infection. My research focuses on how we can repurpose CRISPR-Cas systems against bacteria, in order to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR). AMR threatens our ability to effectively treat infections caused by bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and poses a substantial threat to public health.

Despite their importance in healthcare, most antimicrobials are used in agriculture, and this has precipitated a high level of resistance in the gut bacteria of farm animals such as chickens. These bacteria can be transmitted through food and therefore removal of resistant bacteria during food production is a priority.

This talk will discuss the function and origins of CRISPR-Cas systems and explore their applications, with a focus on how they can be utilised as antimicrobials against drug resistant bacteria.

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