IDOR and Pioneer Science join forces with Jennifer Doudna’s IGI to boost genetic research in Brazil

IDOR and Pioneer Science join forces with Jennifer Doudna’s IGI to boost genetic research in Brazil

In Rio de Janeiro, the D’Or Institute for Research and Education (IDOR) and Pioneer Science welcomed researchers from the Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI), an institution founded by Jennifer Doudna, winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, located in Berkeley, California, United States. The partnership is expected to last six years and includes the exchange of researchers and discussions on new research fronts. The group’s agenda included lectures, visits to Copa Star Hospital – Rede D’Or facilities, and clinical research at the Glória D’Or Hospital, as well as IDOR’s laboratories and the Imaging Center.

The IGI is a leader in studies using the CRISPR gene editing technique, developed by Doudna. The institute’s goal is to work on genome editing tools that enable more accessible solutions to promote health and a better quality of life.

“The CRISPR methodology allows gene editing, i.e. changing the sequence of people’s DNA. So it’s a technique that has unimaginable prospects, still gigantic, both in human health and in agriculture, microbiome control, and microorganisms involved in climate change,” says Sergio T. Ferreira, IDOR researcher and scientific director of Pioneer Science.

The partnership between the institutions comes precisely from this convergence of interests in fostering and stimulating scientific development and cutting-edge research in our country, with the best talent, so that it can benefit health.

“We’re talking here about a scientific collaboration in that everyone aspires to collaborate with the best. When we look at IGI, which has a Nobel Prize winner, and the whole structure, it’s clear that they have many aspects where they are the best. When we look at IDOR and the structures associated with IDOR, such as Rede D’Or, we are also the best in many ways. There are complementarities between these structures that are remarkable” adds Luiz Eugênio Mello, neuroscientist and director of research and innovation at IDOR.

“We currently have two fellows who are already working at the IGI, and we have two other projects that are being developed. The idea is for people to spend a period there [at the IGI], get the training they need to bring this cutting-edge research to our country,” Ferreira adds.

One of the postdoctoral researchers in California is Thyago Leal Calvo, a molecular biologist studying the regulation of genes related to a protein with a neuroprotective function, a determining factor in aging and cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease.

“This technology of editing a genome has enormous potential to transform society. Maybe they’ll make us immortal [laughs]. We’re going to have other complications, but, initially, they should mean that we don’t have some diseases that are deadly,” Luiz Eugênio says.

The other researcher is Bruno Solano, a doctor specializing in cell therapy who is looking for more accessible ways to treat sickle cell anemia, a genetic disease that affects the function of red blood cells.

Sergio adds that solutions using CRISPR technology can benefit a large number of people. So Jennifer Doudn’s proposal is one of inclusive science and benefits for humanity in general.

“We all want to do things that change the world, that transform the world. The Nobel Prize is awarded for advances in knowledge that have the potential to change the world,” adds Luiz Eugênio. “I think this partnership is an important step in IDOR’s journey towards becoming a reference institution, expanding its relevance and bringing expertise to Brazil.”