28 Jun 2022
A research team from the LKS Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong (HKUMed) discovered more efficient CRISPR-Cas9 variants that could be useful for gene therapy applications. By establishing a new pipeline methodology that implements machine learning on high-throughput screening to accurately predict the activity of protein variants, the team expands the capacity to analyse up to 20 times more variants at once without the need for acquiring additional experimental data, which vastly accelerates the speed in protein engineering. The research team has successfully applied the pipeline in several Cas9 optimisations and engineered new Staphylococcus aureus Cas9 (SaCas9) variants with enhanced gene editing efficiency. The findings are now published in Nature Communications and a patent application has been filed based on this work.
This research was led by Dr. Alan Wong Siu-lun, Assistant Professor of the School of Biomedical Sciences, HKUMed, and Principal Investigator, Centre for Oncology and Immunology, as the corresponding author.