Steven Romanelli

Ormond MacDougald Lab

Areas of Interest

CRISPR/Cas9 has transformed the field of molecular biology by enabling an unprecedented ability to target the genome and generate permanent mutations. The use of CRISPR/Cas9 to explore gene function in somatic tissue–specifically in adipocytes– however, has remained limited. My research is focused on exploring the utility of CRISPR/Cas9 for global somatic knockout of genes related to adipose tissue. By developing inducible, adipose-specific CRISPR/Cas9 mice, we seek to explore if Cas9-mediated mutagenesis is sufficient for gene knockout in all 150 million adipocytes within the mature mouse. It has been demonstrated that CRISPR/Cas9 expression can lead to off-target consequences elsewhere in the genome. Therefore, we are examining this phenomenon with regard to long-term, global CRISPR/Cas9 activity in adipocytes and seek to mitigate the accumulation off-target cuts. Ultimately, we hope to utilize this model to assess the function of pertinent genes related to obesity as well as advance the feasibility of CRISPR/Cas9 as a genetic tool.