Catherine Freije was a Harvard Virology Ph.D. candidate in the Sabeti lab from 2016-2020 and developed CRISPR-based technologies for diagnosing and treating RNA virus infections. Her diagnostic work and the efforts of a great group of Sabeti lab members and international collaborators lead to many fantastic publications including (1) Field-deployable viral diagnostics using CRISPR-Cas13 and (2) Streamlined inactivation, amplification, and Cas13-based detection of SARS-CoV-2. In her study of Cas13’s therapeutic potential, her work culminated in the publication “Programmable Inhibition and Detection of RNA Viruses Using Cas13,” where she showed that Cas13 could inhibit three RNA viruses in mammalian cells including influenza A virus.
She is now a postdoctoral scientist in Dr. Charles Rice’s laboratory at The Rockefeller University, where she is currently studying virus-host interactions with a focus on hepatitis B virus.
She believes her key accomplishments as a Sabeti lab member include (1) playing an essential role, with the help of Dr. Cameron Myhrvold, in the establishment of Cas13 projects within the lab, and (2) assisting in the start of many new Cas13 projects, with both domestic and international partners, that are continuing to push these technologies forward today. Although she learned many research lessons during her time in the lab, the lesson that sticks with her most is the importance of checking in with your trainees and creating an environment where they feel comfortable giving you, the mentor, feedback so that both the mentor and mentee can grow together.
“Pardis Sabeti is a force of nature and constantly motivates her trainees to reach their full potential. In this way, I was so lucky to be a member of the Sabeti lab and a part of the greater Sabeti lab member and alumni family.”