Photo: Cody Pickens

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Jennifer Doudna, PhD
The Radical Researcher
For roughly seven years, Jennifer Doudna, a biochemist at the University of California, Berkeley, went to her lab to study the immune system of bacteria. “It was a curiosity-driven science project,” she says—but one that would eventually lead to what could be “the scientific discovery of the century.” With collaborator Emmanuelle Charpentier, Doudna developed a technology called CRISPR-Cas9, which exploits the bacterial immune defense to quickly and easily rewrite the genes of any living organism. Within the next decade, Doudna says, CRISPR could help treat cancer and sickle cell anemia and may be used to limit the spread of Zika, changing medicine as we know it.