Gaelen Hess joins the faculty of Biomolecular Chemistry as new Assistant Professor

The Department of Biomolecular Chemistry and the Center for Human Genomics and Precision Medicine are pleased to welcome Dr. Gaelen Hess, who joined our faculty this month as an Assistant Professor. As a postdoctoral scholar in the lab of Michael Bassik at Stanford University, Dr. Hess brings a wealth of expertise in understanding the effects of genetic perturbations to the area of precision medicine. He has combined his backgrounds in engineering and genome-editing to systematically measure these effects. He developed the novel genome-editing technology, CRISPR-X, which performs targeted diversification at endogenous loci using the somatic hypermutation machinery. This targeted installation of point mutations enables the identification and functional annotation of genetic variants including the dissection of mechanisms of drug resistance.  In addition to this technology, he has employed high-throughput screening platforms to investigate the function of genes, SNPs, and protein variants in mammalian cells.

In his future work, he will build new functional genomics tools to dissect the link between genotype and phenotype. Using these tools, he will investigate mechanisms of DNA repair, therapeutic response, and pathogens, which will enhance the treatment and diagnosis of patients.

Dr. Hess hails from Missouri. He received his undergraduate degree in chemistry and physics from Harvard University and then his PhD in Biophysics, also from Harvard University while studying with Angela Belcher from MIT. For his thesis work he established a labeling method for M13 bacteriophage to generate higher-order nano-material scaffolds and led a project to employ high-throughput sequencing for improved peptide phage display.

We are excited to welcome Dr. Hess and look forward to working with him.  His new lab is housed in the new Center for Human Genomics and Precision Medicine, located in the new WIMR west wedge.