University of Alicante researcher Francisco Mojica wins the Plus Alliance Award for Innovation
Alicante. Monday, 04 September 2017
University of Alicante microbiologist Francisco Mojica, has been awarded the Plus Alliance for Global Innovation Award in London for pioneering research that led him to develop the CRISPR-Cas9 genetic editing technique.
Plus Alliance is an international collaboration of universities (King's College London in the United Kingdom, Arizona State in USA and New South Wales in Australia), which have recognised Mojica's work as one of the most significant progress in life sciences.
"Dr. Mojica's findings strengthen the acclaimed genetic engineering technology which most recently has been linked to accelerating a cure for Huntington’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)," people responsible for the award said during the ceremony held yesterday in the British capital within the framework of the Times Higher Education World Academic Summit.
The jury acknowledges that progress has been made in the same field by "brilliant scientists such as Jennifer Doudna, Emmanuelle Charpentier and Feng Zhang. "The bases of the genetic editing technique were established in Spain thanks to Francisco Mojica and his fundamental research on the bacteria," they added.
During his speech, Prof. Mojica said that "I fell in love with CRISPR in the 1990s as a doctoral student, when it was just a curiosity in the genome of a strange microorganism. Ever since, I have continued to develop my passion that has led to great discoveries and wonderful collaborations". In the words of the researcher "to be recognised by the Plus Alliance means the recognition of the scientific community and is a great honour."
Mojica is the author of the revolutionary CRISPR/Cas 9 genetic editing technique, able to efficiently and inexpensively cut and paste DNA sequences. This technique is used by scientific groups all over the world to develop specific applications in the fight against diseases of genetic origin, from cancer to muscular dystrophy.
This is the fifth prize of scientific relevance that the researcher has been awarded this year, including the Albany Award, the most prestigious awards granted in the United States in the field of Medicine.
PLUS Alliance combines the strengths of three leading research universities on three continents – Arizona State University, King’s College London and the UNSW Sydney - to solve global challenges around health, social justice, sustainability, and technology and innovation.
The PLuS Alliance Prize valued at USD$50,000 is awarded annually to highlight innovation in research and innovation in education that faces a problem of global importance, with a direct and positive impact and helps or has the potential to help communities around the world.