Erik J. Sontheimer, Ph.D., is Professor in the RNA Therapeutics Institute at UMass Medical School in Worcester, MA. From 1999 to 2014, he was on the faculty of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. His research focuses on RNA-based gene regulation, and his laboratory has made fundamental contributions to the understanding of both pre-mRNA splicing mechanisms and RNA interference pathways. In 2008 his laboratory also began working on genetic interference mechanisms in pathogenic bacteria. Among many other advances, his group demonstrated that small RNAs known as CRISPR RNAs can target DNA molecules for interference, and in 2008 first explicitly articulated CRISPR's potential as an RNA-guided genome editing platform. This advance was instrumental in paving the way for the recent CRISPR RNA-guided genome engineering revolution. He is a recipient of the 2008 Nestle Award from the ASM, an Associate Editor of the journal RNA, and a co-founder of Intellia Therapeutics.