Research Faculty

630 West 168th Street
P&S 12-401
New York, NY 10032

Education and Training
2000-2004 B.A. in Genetics and Molecular Biology from Northwestern University.
2004-2011 M.D., Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Pennsylvania.
2011-2014 Resident in Clinical Pathology at Massachusetts General Hospital (Harvard Medical School).
2014-2017 Postdoctoral Research at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University.

Taub Institute
Alejandro Chavez, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology at CUMC
Research Summary

Today we stand on the cusp of a revolution within the biomedical sciences, brought forth by the explosion of transformative technologies that enable avenues of discovery previously thought to be impossible. Understanding the ability of technology to drive innovation, our team has spent the past several years generating new methods with which to perform targeted gene activation, simultaneously modify DNA sequence and RNA expression, achieve precise genome editing, and bias genetic inheritance. Our work employs a variety of techniques ranging from oligo chip synthesis and library-based screening to iPS cell differentiation and live-cell imaging. We utilize a variety of model systems ranging from yeast to human cell culture to assure that the technologies we generate are applicable to a broad swath of the scientific community. To facilitate the adaptation of our tools, we make all of our published reagents available by depositing them within Addgene (to date 650+ research groups have requested our reagents), and regularly share our expertise with outside laboratories, as we believe the value of our technology is more within the research it enables than in the individual publications we produce.

Our research group will continue to push the boundaries of genetic engineering by developing new methods with which to modify and regulate eukaryotic genomes. We will then use these tools to gain fundamental insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration while also generating valuable therapeutic leads.

Our team places a strong emphasis on mentoring, and values the opportunity to be able to train the next generation of budding scientists.
Service Activities

Molecular Pathology
Selected Publications

*Chavez, A., *Tuttle, M., Pruitt, B.W., Ewen-Campen, B., Chari, R., Ter-Ovanesyan, D., Haque, S.J., Cecchi, R.J., Kowal, E.J., Buchthal, J., Housden, B.E., Perrimon, N., Collins, J.J., and Church, G. Comparison of Cas9 activators in multiple species. Nature Methods. 2016; 13:563-567: PMCID: PMC4927356

*Kiani, S., *Chavez, A., Tuttle, M., Hall, R.N., Chari, R., Ter-Ovanesyan, D., Qian, J., Pruitt, B.W., Beal, J., Vora, S., Buchthal, J., Kowal, E.J., Ebrahimkhani, M.R., Collins, J.J., Weiss, R., Church., G. (2015) Cas9 gRNA engineering for genome editing, activation and repression. Nature Methods. 12:1051-1054: PMCID: PMC4666719

*DiCarlo, J.E., *Chavez, A., Dietz, S.L., Esvelt, K.M., Church, G.M. Safeguarding CRISPR-Cas9 gene drives in yeast. Nature Biotechnology. 2015; 33:1250-1255: PMCID: PMC4675690

*Chavez, A., *Scheiman, J., *Vora, S., Pruitt, B.W., Tuttle, M., P R Iyer, E., Lin, S., Kiani, S., Guzman, C. D., Wiegand, D.J., Ter-Ovanesyan, D., Braff, J.L., Davidsohn, N., Housden, B.E., Perrimon, N., Weiss, R., Aach, J., Collins, J.J., and Church, G.M. (2015) Highly efficient Cas9-mediated transcriptional programming. Nature Methods. 12:326-328: PMCID: PMC4393883

Up to date publication list:

Honors and Awards

2017-2021 Burroughs Wellcome Career Award for Medical Scientist
Committees , Council, and Professional Society Memberships

Member of Institute for Genomic Medicine at Columbia University

Cas9, CRISPR, Genome Engineering, Synthetic Biology, Molecular Diagnostics, Technology Development, Drug Screening, Yeast, S. cerevisiae, genome-wide screen, library screen, sgRNA library, guide+donor, dCas9-VPR

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