Dr. Skarnes has spent the better part of his career developing technology and community resources for genetic studies in mice and pluripotent stem cells. As a graduate student he pioneered “gene trapping” as a means to create large numbers of insertional mutations in mouse ES cells.His work laid the foundation for large public gene trap resources and their dissemination to the mouse community.
In 2006, with funding from the NIH and European Union, Dr. Skarnes established a high-throughput gene targeting pipeline at the Sanger Institute, the major contributor to the EUCOMM/EUCOMMTools and KOMP projects. High-throughput targeting required the development of computational vector design software, mass parallel construction of targeting vector by BAC recombineering and the generation of targeted ES cells on an unprecedented scale. This collection of 15,000 knockout ES cells is the foundation for ongoing efforts by the International Phenotyping Consortium to understand the function of all mammalian genes.
In 2016, Dr. Skarnes was recruited to JAX as a Professor and Director of Cellular Engineering, establishing a core service for editing of human iPSCs. Still active at the bench, Dr. Skarnes continues to develop genome editing strategies that can be deployed at scale to build community resources, recently publishing improved protocols for the generation of iPSC models of human disease.