Jackson Champer is a faculty member at the School
of Life Sciences at Peking University and the Peking-Tsinghua Center for Life
Sciences. Jackson is also a member of the Center for Bioinformatics.
Gene drive alleles have the potential to rapidly spread through a population. They can modify the
population with a desired trait or even directly suppress the population. The most promising application for gene
drives is combating vector-borne diseases, such as malaria and dengue. "Payloads" that could be carried by gene
drives to prevent transmission of these diseases already exist. Gene drives could also be used for conservation by
removing invasive species or modifying endangered species to protect them. However, substantial challenges must be
overcome to develop effective drives.
A primary obstacle to successful gene drive is the formation of resistance alleles by the drive itself. There
are many possible ways to reduce formation of resistance alleles. Another challenge for gene drives is to modify
only a specific target population, rather than spreading uncontrollably. This could be necessary for a variety of
reasons such as sociopolitical considerations or the need to suppress an invasive species only outside its native
range. To address these issues, the Champer lab tests gene drive concepts and designs in the model organism,
. There is also research toward generating “release candidates” in the
mosquitoes Anopheles gambiae
and Aedes aegypti
A portion of the Champer lab’s research involves computational modeling of gene
drives to determine how well they may actually perform in natural populations. Suppression drive and confined drive
particularly interesting properties in spatially continuous environments
. Modeling is also used to
assess drive variants and performance models prior to conducting experiments, which are then used to further refine
quantitative mechanistic models.
Enquiries are welcome. Contact Jackson Champer at firstname.lastname@example.org.