Rachel Haurwitz

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Rachel Haurwitz
Rachel Elizabeth Haurwitz

(1985-05-20) May 20, 1985 (age 34)
Austin, Texas, U.S.
Alma mater
Scientific career
InstitutionsCaribou Biosciences
ThesisThe CRISPR endoribonuclease Csy4 utilizes unusual sequence- and structure-specific mechanisms to recognize and process crRNAs (2012)
Doctoral advisorJennifer Doudna
Other academic advisorsJillian Banfield

Rachel Elizabeth Haurwitz (born May 20, 1985) is an American biochemist and structural biologist. She is the co-founder, chief executive officer, and president of Caribou Biosciences, a gene editing company.

Early life and education[edit]

Haurwitz was born May 20, 1985.[1] She grew up in Austin, Texas. Her mother is elementary school teacher and her father, an environmental journalist. She self describes her younger self as "your average science nerd." While in high school, Haurwitz kept 400 planaria in the family's dining room to conduct maze experiments.[2]

Haurwitz began researching RNA during her undergraduate years.[3] She attended Harvard College where she earned an undergraduate degree. In 2007, she began doctoral studies at University of California, Berkeley. At the age of 21,[4] Haurwitz began working as a graduate student in Jennifer Doudna's laboratory, in 2008 where she completed her doctorate in molecular and cell biology.[5] Haurwitz originally intended on becoming an intellectual property lawyer for biotechnology patents but later chose to continue pursuing science.[6]


In 2011, Haurwitz and Doudna co-founded Caribou Biosciences, a gene editing spinout-startup company.[7] Haurwitz is the company's CEO and president. She holds several patents for CRISPR-based technologies.[5] Caribou Biosciences was initially housed in the basement of the same building that housed Doudna's laboratory. Haurwitz's company supports the commercialization[8] of CRISPR technology in healthcare and agriculture.[9] Its researchers explore issues in antimicrobial resistance, food scarcity, and vaccine shortages.[9] The company licensed Berkeley's CRISPR patent and deals with agricultural and pharmaceutical companies and research firms.[10] As of 2018 she oversees 46 employees. In 2018, Haurwitz announced that Caribou Biosciences was shifting focus on medicine and developing cancer therapies targeting microbes.[2]

On being a woman executive, Haurwitz reports that she has experienced situations where she was treated differently because of her gender. She also states that she more frequently felt underestimated because of her young age.[11]

Awards and honors[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Haurwitz is Jewish.[1] She is a long-distance runner and is training for a marathon.[9] Haurwitz knits as a hobby.[6]

Selected works[edit]


  • Haurwitz, Rachel E.; Jinek, Martin; Wiedenheft, Blake; Zhou, Kaihong; Doudna, Jennifer A. (September 10, 2010). "Sequence- and Structure-Specific RNA Processing by a CRISPR Endonuclease". Science. 329 (5997): 1355–1358.
  • Qi, Lei; Haurwitz, Rachel E; Shao, Wenjun; Doudna, Jennifer A; Arkin, Adam P (September 16, 2012). "RNA processing enables predictable programming of gene expression". Nature Biotechnology. 30 (10): 1002–1006.


  1. ^ a b "Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: May 18, 2018". Haaretz. May 18, 2018. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Fosco, Molly (March 16, 2018). "This Scientist Turned CEO Wants to Gene-Edit a Way to Cure Cancer". OZY. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  3. ^ Herman, Elizabeth D. (June 22, 2016). "For biotech CEO Rachel Haurwitz, CRISPR is big business". STAT. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  4. ^ "The two faces of Rachel Haurwitz". MPNforum Magazine. April 9, 2015. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Buhr, Sarah (September 4, 2018). "These two CRISPR experts are coming to Disrupt SF 2018". TechCrunch. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  6. ^ a b "40 Under 40". Fortune. September 22, 2016. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  7. ^ "Rachel Haurwitz". Forbes. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  8. ^ Leeming, Jack (April 5, 2018). "How researchers are ensuring that their work has an impact". Nature. 556 (7699): 139–141. doi:10.1038/d41586-018-03925-8. ISSN 0028-0836.
  9. ^ a b c "NOMINEE: Rachel Haurwitz". Newsweek. January 18, 2018. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  10. ^ Regalado, Antonio (2017). "One woman's ascent from lab rat to CEO of a CRISPR company". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  11. ^ "Women who lead in life sciences". San Francisco Business Times. Bizjournals. 2018. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  12. ^ "30 Under 30 2017: All-Star Alumni". Forbes.
  13. ^ "Association for Women in Science Announces Top Awards for STEM and Gender Equity Champions". Association for Women in Science.
  14. ^ "Rachel Haurwitz". Forbes.