SBME Presents – Dr. Knut Woltjen

Total control of the human genome by reprogramming and precision editing

Location: CBH LL 101 (Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health) and Zoom (

Abstract: In an era of widespread genome sequencing, many aspects of genome function remain refractory to interpretation. The combined use of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and CRISPR gene editing can resolve genetic mysteries and provide a route to practical human health applications. Using piggyBac transposons to generate iPSCs, we established reprogramming dogmas, inspired partial reprogramming for tissue rejuvenation, and generated the first footprint-free iPSCs by precise transposon excision. Our lab continues to reprogram and engineer human genomes with a priority on precision. Technologies based on engineered and endogenous microhomologies, modulation of DNA repair pathways through cell cycle control, and RNA-encoded designer mutations have helped us to reveal the genetics underlying human health and disease. I will discuss the rationale and process for development of these technologies in the context of their application to functional genomics, cell therapy, and rejuvenation, as well as their future in genome interpretation and redesign.



Dr. Knut Woltjen

Associate Professor  |  University of Kyoto, Japan

Speaker Bio: Dr. Woltjen is an Associate Professor in the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA) and alumnus of the Hakubi Center for Advanced Research of Kyoto University, Japan. He received his B.Sc. (Honours) from the University of Alberta in Molecular Genetics and his Ph.D. from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Calgary, Canada in 2006. As a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Toronto, Dr. Woltjen employed the piggyBac transposon to create the first footprint-free mouse and human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPS) cells. Dr. Woltjen’s current research focuses on applying the processes of somatic cell reprograming towards tissue rejuvenation, as well as developing and applying precision genome and epigenome engineering to understand and control the genetics of human health, disease, and evolution.


This is seminar is a hybrid session. 

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