Nebraska Team Wins Prize in Contest to Treat Disease Through Gene Editing; Scientists Will Use Targeted Milk Exosomes As Vehicles for Transmitting Gene-Editing Molecules

Jiantao Guo (left), professor of chemistry, and Janos Zempleni, Willa Cather Professor of molecular nutrition, were selected as Phase 1 winners in the National Institutes of Health's Targeted Genome Editor Delivery Challenge. (Credit: University Communication & Marketing, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

A University of Nebraska-Lincoln research duo was named a first-round winner in a National Institutes of Health competition aimed at generating solutions for delivering genome-editing technology to the cells of people with rare and common diseases. Janos Zempleni, PhD, Willa Cather Professor of Molecular Nutrition, and Jiantao Guo, PhD, Professor of Chemistry, were selected as Phase 1 winners in the NIH’s Targeted Genome Editor Delivery Challenge. The challenge is a three-phase competition with prizes totaling $6 million; the University of Nebraska–Lincoln team was among 30 initial recipients announced in December 2023. With the $25,000 prize, Zempleni and Guo will advance development of universal milk exosomes — natural nanoparticles contained in milk — capable of transporting gene editors to any location in the body.

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