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Erik J Sontheimer






UMassMed Faculty Page


Title: DNase H Activity of Neisseria Meningitidis Cas9. UMMS16-05; Patent Pending.

  • This new technology capitalizes on the discovery of DNase H activity in NmeCas9 that could serve as a novel programmable RNA-guided "restriction enzyme" that cleaves ssDNA, with no sequence constraints. Compared to RNase H that degrades the RNA strand of a RNA-DNA hybrid (with little or no sequence preference), NmeCas9's DNase activity makes specific cuts and has the opposite nucleic acid specificity, i.e. cleaving the DNA strand of the hybrid duplex. 

Title: The Use of Phage anti-CRISPR Proteins for the Control of Cas9 Genome Editing. UMMS16-39; Patent Pending.

  • This novel “off-switch” for Cas9 is important for preventing off target editing effects from CRISPR technology. This technology consists of proteins that have the ability to inhibit NmeCas9 nuclease. This invention has great potential for application in genome editing with CRISPR in human application. 

Title: Broadening the Precision and Targeting Range of Cas9 through DNA Binding Domain Fusions and PAM Recognition Mutations. UMMS14-68; Patent Pending. 

  • New Cas9 technology with improved activity, precision, and sequence targeting range. This new Cas9 nuclease-DNA targeting unit chimera utilizes programmable DNA binding domain for editing specificity. The chimeric nuclease complex allows for conjugation of other Cas9 variants to reduce off-target and undesired editing of the genome. This improved Cas9 technology will have application for future human gene therapy. 


Innovation TopicsGene TherapyCRISPRAAVGene editing