Sigma Xi Orange County Chapter

May Meeting

May 17th, 2018. (This time only, on Thursday!)


8:00 PM: “The New World of CRISPR applications”

CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats; the hallmark of a bacterial defense system that forms the basis for CRISPR-Cas9 genome-editing technology.) The discovery of the CRISPR bacteria adaptive immune system and its subsequent use as a research tool is transforming research in the life sciences at an unprecedented pace. In the past few years, CRISPR has gone from proof-of-principle experiments in academic laboratories to promising human therapies, agricultural products, and potential public health solutions. The lecture will explore the history and impact that CRISPR is having on our world.

About the speaker

Valentino Gantz received his Ph.D. from the University of California San Diego in 2015. His thesis was “Mutagenetic chain reaction: from Evo-Devo to active genetics.” He obtained his Biotechnology Bachelor’s degree in 2006 and Industrial Biotechnologies Master’s degree in 2008, both from the University of Bologna, Italy.

Concurrently he worked as an exchange student at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, studying telomeres in yeast, before joining Bier Laboratory at UCSD as both a grad student and a postdoc. As a graduate student, he conceived and tested a new application of the CRISPR-Cas9 system. The resulting technology, the “mutagenic chain reaction,” or MCR, sprouted the novel research field of Active Genetics, aka gene drive, whose fundamental property is the super-Mendelian inheritance of desired traits. It holds great promise for basic research, fighting insect-borne diseases, crop pest control, agriculture and human therapy.

In collaboration with the James Lab at UCI, Valentino helped bring gene-drive technology to immunize mosquito populations against Plasmodium, the parasite which causes malaria. He co-founded of Synbal, Inc, to commercialize this technology and is currently Assistant Research Scientist in the section of Cell and Development Biology at UCSD

Social ½ Hour:

6:30 PM (no host bar). Come and meet the speaker and the other attendees.


7:00 PM – Reservation required. Meatloaf dinner, assorted dinner rolls and creamery butter, chef’s choice dessert, freshly brewed regular and decaffeinated coffee, hot herbal tea. Vegetarian option available. Full bar service.

[Include your dinner preference (regular or vegetarian) with your check/reservation.]


Note the updated attendance and contact info, and the new dinner price.
Be sure to RSVP ASAP to ensure getting a seat!

Send your check (made out to Sigma Xi, Orange County Chapter), which must be received by Friday, May 11th, to

Dr. Peter Kurzhals
16944 Kawai Court.
Fountain Valley, CA 92708-2612

Paid-up members and their guests, $30; $35 for all others; $5 more if you pay at the door.

Dinner with no RSVP is $5 more and the entrée is whatever is available.

(Surprise attendees stress both the kitchen supplies and staff!)

There is no charge for attending the lecture only but

   (1) you won’t be admitted to the meeting room before 7:45, and

   (2) you must RSVP so we can have a chair for you!

Map and Directions

DoubleTree Club by Hilton Hotel Orange County Airport

In the parking lot, drive up to the front door. There will be no charge if you tell the valet parking attendants that you're going to the Sigma Xi meeting. Arrive early, as the parking lot sometimes fills up quickly.