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Valentino Gantz, Ph.D.

Valentino Gantz, Ph.D.

Co-founder and Director, Agragene Inc. and Synbal Inc.

Valentino’s research at UCSD has been focused on understanding the link between morphological structure and DNA. During the process of obtaining functional data for this project he came to the invention of the Mutagenic Chain Reaction (MCR), a CRISPR/Cas9-based technology that alters mendelian inheritance and has tremendous promise in combating diseases spread by mosquitos (malaria, dengue fever, chikungunya) and pests and invasive species.

Valentino Gantz’s work resulted in the first peer-reviewed publication of a gene drive based on the CRISPR/Cas9 technology Gene drive elements. A subsequent publication then described the first proof-of-principle application in a disease-relevant species — the malaria vector mosquito Anopheles stephensib. Gene drives offer a potential solution to numerous problems affecting human health (Malaria, Dengue, Zika, Chikungunya, Chagas), agricultural pests (spotted wing fruit fly, olive fly, Mediterranean fruit fly). The type of inheritance obtained by this kind of genetic element bypasses the rules of Mendelian genetics that we all know.

Valentino obtained his PhD in biology at UCSD and has over 10 publications.