St Cross alumna Helena Meyer-Berg (DPhil Medical Sciences, 2017) has been awarded the Excellence in Research Award by the American Society for Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT) for her DPhil research. Helena gave an oral presentation during the 2021 virtual ASGCT annual meeting which is the largest and most renowned conference in the field. Her abstract has been selected amongst the top 15 from 898 abstracts.
For her DPhil, Helena explores the gene therapies based on adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors for a rare and fatal genetic disease of the lung termed Surfactant Protein B deficiency. Aimed to accelerate clinical translation, Helena focuses on human lung models for gene therapy development which are generated from embryonic stem cells and grown into 3D lung-like structures. Using the CRISPR/Cas9 technology, she edits embryonic stem cells to carry the disease-causing mutation of SP-B deficiency and is, therefore, able to test her gene therapy candidates in a human disease model of the lung.
In her comment on the award, Helena said:
I am absolutely thrilled to receive this honour from the ASGCT and the recognition of my work in the field of human disease models for gene therapy applications.
Many congratulations to Helena on her great achievement!