David R. Liu, PhD
David R. Liu is the Richard Merkin Professor and director of the Merkin Institute of Transformative Technologies in Healthcare, vice-chair of the faculty at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, the Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of the Natural Sciences at Harvard University, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator. Liu’s research integrates chemistry and evolution to illuminate biology and enable next-generation therapeutics. His major research interests include the engineering, evolution, and in vivo delivery of genome editing proteins such as base editors and prime editors to study and treat genetic diseases; the evolution of proteins with novel therapeutic potential using phage-assisted continuous evolution (PACE); and the discovery of bioactive synthetic small molecules and synthetic polymers using DNA-templated organic synthesis and DNA-encoded libraries. Base editing—the first general method to perform precision gene editing without double-stranded breaks, and a Science 2017 Breakthrough of the Year finalist—as well as prime editing, PACE, and DNA-templated synthesis are four examples of technologies pioneered in his laboratory. These technologies are used by thousands of labs around the world and have enabled the study and potential treatment of many genetic diseases. The first base editing clinical trial is already underway, with multiple additional base editing clinical trials cleared by FDA and other agencies to begin in 2022.