Alumni Feng Zhang invites GT Supervisor to award ceremony
Feng Zhang (former Roosevelt and Central Academy student) was awarded the prestigious Gairdner’s award in Toronto, Canada. Feng invited his former science fair sponsor and gifted/talented consultant Ed Pilkington to the event.
Feng Zhang is a Core Member at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, an Investigator at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. He was born in Shijiazhuang (Hebei Province, China) in 1981 and moved to Des Moines, Iowa in 1993. His introduction to engineering biological tools for mammalian systems began as a sophomore in high school with an opportunity to intern in the gene therapy lab of John Levy in Des Moines, Iowa. He obtained an A.B. in Chemistry and Physics from Harvard University in 2004 working with Xiaowei Zhuang. As a PhD student in the Chemistry Department at Stanford University, Zhang worked with Karl Deisseroth to develop optogenetics technologies for dissecting brain circuits, using light-sensitive proteins from microbes to enable control of neuronal activity in living organisms with light. After finishing his Ph.D. in 2009, Feng joined the Harvard Society of Fellows as a Junior Fellow (2009-2010), focusing on developing gene editing tools based on transcription activator-like effectors (TALEs). In 2011, Zhang began his own laboratory at the Broad and McGovern Institutes, where he harnessed CRISPR-Cas systems for gene editing in eukaryotic cells. His lab continues to play a critical role in the development of gene editing technologies and applications that are accelerating research around the world.