The Andreas Acrivos Award for Professional Progress in Chemical Engineering is endowed by the AIChE Foundation in the name of fluid-dynamics pioneer Andreas Acrivos of the City College of New York. The prize recognizes outstanding progress in chemical engineering by a member of AIChE in their early career. The recipient of the 2020 Professional Progress Award is David Schaffer, a faculty scientist in Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging (MBIB), as well as a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at UC Berkeley, where he also directs the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences. Schaffer was recognized for implementing molecular and cellular engineering strategies to overcome challenges in the development of gene and cell therapies. In particular, he developed the concept of applying directed evolution to engineer targeted and efficient viral gene therapy vectors, which led to novel adeno-associated viral vectors being used in multiple human clinical trials. In addition, he has developed new technologies to investigate and control stem cell fate decisions. Read more from AIChE.
UC Berkeley researchers have created a new technique that can rapidly “print” two-dimensional arrays of cells and proteins that mimic a wide variety of cellular environments in the body. The technique could help scientists better understand the complex cell-to-cell messaging that dictates a cell’s final fate. David Schaffer, a faculty scientist in Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging (MBIB), as well as a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at UC Berkeley, is co-senior author on the paper describing the work published in Science Advances.
Two scientists from the Biosciences Area, Cheryl Kerfeld and David Schaffer, have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). They join fellow Lab scientists Rebecca Abergel in the Chemical Sciences Division, Roland Burgmann and Michael Manga in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Area Energy Geosciences Division, and Natalie Roe, Director of the Physics Division, in receiving the distinction of Fellow this year for “their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.”
David Schaffer, a faculty scientist in Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging (MBIB), has been selected as a Bakar Fellow for his work engineering cells to increase the production of viral vectors that can deliver genes into patients. In particular, delivery vehicles (vectors) based on the adeno-associated virus (AAV) have achieved success in clinical trials for rare diseases including hemophilia. But AAV is difficult to produce in sufficient quantity to bring gene therapy into routine clinical use. Schaffer, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at UC Berkeley, is working to engineer cells for enhanced AAV vector production. With the support of the Bakar Fellows Program, he will work to create virus-producing cell lines that can generate many-fold higher levels of AAV vector than the current industry standard. Read the Berkeley News article to learn more about the award and his research.
For the first time, University of California, Berkeley scientists have used CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing to disable a defective gene that causes amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, in mice, extending their lifespan by 25 percent. The team was led by David Schaffer, faculty scientist in Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging.