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Mi You to speak with leading CRISPR scientist Le Cong

Cong Le, core team member that developed the ground-breaking genetic editing CRISPR/Cas systems, will be joined by media/art theorist and curator You Mi to discuss latest technologies in genome engineering and philosophy of biodigital desire. Existing originally in nature as part of the bacterial immune system, CRISPR/Cas has been successfully induced to cut human genome at precise locations by the team of Zhang Feng and Cong Le at Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Apart from elucidating the technological aspects, the dialogue will turn around ethical implications of transgenetic technologies. Further, in an interlocution with speculative philosophy, the dialogue probes into the philosophy of (and beyond) science in questions of endosymbiosis (Margulis and Sagan) and “biophysical – biocultural – biodigital” (Parisi) desire.

Extended reading:

Cong Le et al. “Multiplex genome engineering using CRISPR/Cas systemsScience. Online January 3, 2013. DOI: 10.1126/science.1231143

You Mi. “Desire, DNA and Transgenetic Technology: Life after Necropolitics” in Natasha Lushetich (ed.) The Aesthetics of Necropolitics, Rowman and Littlefield, 2018.  

Institute for Provocation

Le Cong

Assistant Professor, Stanford University (tentative starting 2018)

Postdoctoral Associate, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

Visiting Investigator, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden


Dr. Cong obtained his Bachelor of Science with highest honor from Tsinghua University, and his Ph.D. from Harvard Medical School. He completed doctoral work primarily in Dr. Feng Zhang’s laboratory, where he published a seminal study in Science that demonstrated the application of CRISPR/Cas9 for genome editing. This article remains one of the most highly cited papers in CRISPR field. He has obtained over 14 issued U.S. and European Union patents, and subsequently modified the CRISPR system for gene and cell therapy. He is currently working to apply single-cell genomics and genome engineering for cancer immunotherapy under Dr. Aviv Regev at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and will soon be starting his own independent group. Dr. Cong was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) International Fellow, a Cancer Research Institute (CRI) Irvington Fellow, and was included in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia/China list of young innovators and entrepreneurs.

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