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Marc Halfon

Professor of Biochemistry
Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo

AREAS OF EXPERTISE:

Genetics; gene expression; gene drive; genome editing; mosquito genome; cell growth, differentiation and development

Marc Halfon is an expert on genomics and genetics. He studies how regulatory elements in an organism’s DNA control the way that cells develop.

He can speak to the media about some of the most controversial topics in biology, including genome editing and gene drive — a technique that involves altering an organism’s DNA so that specific genetic traits are passed on to a large proportion of the organism’s descendants. Gene drive — which could be used to wipe out populations of disease-carrying insects — raises immense scientific and moral questions, and the technology’s costs and benefits will depend on how it’s used, Halfon says.

For over a decade, Halfon has been studying insect genomes, including those of fruit flies, beetles, bees and wasps. His team is using machine learning to identify pieces of mosquito DNA that regulate how the organism’s cells develop and behave. The research could facilitate efforts to use genetic engineering to control mosquito populations, or to create mosquitoes that have reduced ability to transmit maladies, such as malaria, to humans.

CONTACT:

Marc Halfon, PhD
Professor of Biochemistry
Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo

NEWS ABOUT MARC HALFON