Photo of Kevin ZHAO

Biotechnology & medicine

Kevin ZHAO

He developed precise genome editing technologies for use in human therapeutics and agricultural breeding.

Year Honored

Qi Biodesign

Asia Pacific

Hails From
Asia Pacific

Kevin Zhao completed his Ph.D. in chemistry and chemical biology in the lab of Professor David R. Liu at Harvard University and the Broad Institute. During this period, he co-led an effort to use directed evolution to develop an enhanced adenine DNA base editor, ABE8e, which is 1,000 times faster than the original editor. Kevin also helped expand the targeting scope of genome editing proteins. Collectively, the new suite of genome editing tools can be targeted to most areas in the human genome and reach near complete editing in human cells. This improved base editor has already been proven to be useful as a potential therapy for sickle cell anemia, progeria, spinal muscular atrophy, and other genetic diseases.

In addition to innovating new genome editing technologies, Dr. Zhao is advancing the use and application of genome editing in society. In 2021, he co-founded a genome-editing company named Qi Biodesign with Caixia Gao, a researcher at the Institute of Genetic and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. He is continuing to develop precise and efficient genome editing technologies while applying them to crop breeding and more.

Qi Biodesign obtained a $20 million seed round financing in March 2022, which is the largest investment on record for a seed round gene-editing company in China.