J. Keith Joung

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J. Keith Joung is an American pathologist and molecular biologist who is the Desmond and Ann Heathwood Research Scholar at Massachusetts General Hospital and a Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School.[1] He is a leading figure in the field of genome editing and has pioneered the development of designer nucleases and sensitive off-target detection methods.[2]


In 1987, Joung graduated from Harvard College with a bachelor's degree in biochemical sciences.[3] He received an M.D. from Harvard Medical School and a Ph.D. in genetics from Harvard University.[4]


Joung is most well known for his work in genome editing and has contributed to the development of designer nucleases through protein engineering and assays for off-target detection.[5][6][7] In the mid-2000s, Joung's research was focused on creating zinc finger nuclease tools for biological research and gene therapy.[8] He was the leader and founder of the Zinc Finger Consortium and co-authored a study on Oligomerized Pool Engineering (OPEN), a publicly available strategy for rapidly constructing multi-finger arrays.[9][10]

More recently, Joung has contributed to the development of TAL effector, TALENs, and the RNA-guided CRISPR/Cas9 system. In addition to demonstrating the use of the CRISPR/Cas9 system in vivo through the zebrafish model,[11] Joung has pioneered the creation of tools such as GUIDE-seq and CIRCLE-seq to detect nuclease off-targets within the genome.[12][13] In 2016, his group became one of the first to report engineered high-fidelity CRISPR/Cas9 nucleases (HF1) with no detectable off-target effects.[14]

Joung is also one of the scientific co-founders of Editas Medicine, along with Jennifer Doudna, Feng Zhang, George Church, and David Liu.[15]


  1. ^ "Joung Laboratory - Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA". massgeneral.org. Retrieved 2016-11-19.
  2. ^ https://www.pnas.org/content/113/18/4884
  3. ^ https://www.asgct.org/about/board-officers/j-keith-joung-md-phd
  4. ^ https://ccib.mgh.harvard.edu/joung#research
  5. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/29/health/research/29zinc.html
  6. ^ https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141216154729.htm
  7. ^ https://www.genomeweb.com/gene-silencinggene-editing/crispr-researchers-develop-highly-sensitive-method-identification-target#.XH8ifqeZNZ1
  8. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/29/health/research/29zinc.html
  9. ^ "The Zinc Finger Consortium | Consortium Members". zincfingers.org. Retrieved 2016-11-19.
  10. ^ Maeder, Morgan L.; Thibodeau-Beganny, Stacey; Osiak, Anna; Wright, David A.; Anthony, Reshma M.; Eichtinger, Magdalena; Jiang, Tao; Foley, Jonathan E.; Winfrey, Ronnie J. (2008-07-25). "Rapid "open-source" engineering of customized zinc-finger nucleases for highly efficient gene modification". Molecular Cell. 31 (2): 294–301. doi:10.1016/j.molcel.2008.06.016. ISSN 1097-2765. PMC 2535758. PMID 18657511.
  11. ^ Hwang WY, Fu Y, Reyon D, Maeder ML, Tsai SQ, Sander JD, Peterson RT, Yeh JR*, Joung JK*. Efficient genome editing in zebrafish using a CRISPR-Cas system. Nat Biotechnol. 2013 Mar;31(3):227-9.
  12. ^ Tsai, S.Q., et al. GUIDE-seq enables genome-wide profiling of off-target cleavage by CRISPR-Cas nucleases. Nat Biotechnol (2015)
  13. ^ Tsai, Shengdar Q.; Nguyen, Nhu T.; Malagon-Lopez, Jose; Topkar, Ved V.; Aryee, Martin J.; Joung, J. Keith (June 2017). "CIRCLE-seq: a highly sensitive in vitro screen for genome-wide CRISPR-Cas9 nuclease off-targets". Nature Methods. 14 (6): 607–614. doi:10.1038/nmeth.4278. ISSN 1548-7091. PMC 5924695.
  14. ^ Kleinstiver, Benjamin P.; Pattanayak, Vikram; Prew, Michelle S.; Tsai, Shengdar Q.; Nguyen, Nhu T.; Zheng, Zongli; Joung, J. Keith (2016-01-28). "High-fidelity CRISPR-Cas9 nucleases with no detectable genome-wide off-target effects". Nature. 529 (7587): 490–495. doi:10.1038/nature16526. ISSN 1476-4687. PMC 4851738. PMID 26735016.
  15. ^ https://mcgovern.mit.edu/2013/11/25/editas-medicine-to-develop-new-class-of-genome-editing-therapeutics/