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GEN’s editorial staff interviews life science academic and biotech industry leaders on important research, technology, and trends. These podcasts will keep you informed with all the important details you need.

A research team from the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, MIT, and Sangamo BioSciences says it has developed a novel technique to efficiently and precisely modify or introduce genes into the genomes of human embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells. The method uses zinc finger nucleases and is described in the August 13 issue of Nature Biotechnology.

During this week's podcast Dr. Dirk Hockemeyer, the first author of the paper, specifies what the group was actually able to demonstrate and highlights the importance of the study’s results. He also explains why the accomplishment was so novel in terms of gene targeting in human embryonic stem cells and why it had previously been difficult to modify or move genes into human embryonic stem cells.

Dr. Hockemeyer talks about new avenues of human genetic research that will now be opened by this novel gene-targeting technique and discusses the next phase of his team’s research.
As a postdoctoral fellow in Rudolf Jaenisch’s lab at Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Dirk Hockemeyer’s research has focused on embryonic stem cells and adult cells that have been “reprogrammed” to an embryonic-like state, called induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Hockemeyer received his doctorate from Rockefeller University, in New York City, and his undergraduate degree from Eberhard-Karls-Universität, in Tübingen, Germany. In 2008, he was awarded the prestigious Merck Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Life Sciences Research Foundation.

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