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In the pause: Rediscovering awe in CRISPR

“He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.” ~Albert Einstein

In this year of pausing and reflecting more, I try to read, see, hear, or experience one thing every day that seems completely out of this world. Things that make me wonder. Things that make me stand in awe.

Today that thing is something known as CRISPR. In a very small and simple nutshell, it’s a “find and replace” function for cellular DNA. There is research underway right now at Penn, my alma mater, that is attempting to turn cells into cancer super-fighters.

Other scientists are testing the ideas of using CRISPR to take HIV, cancer, and Alzheimer’s right out of the cells where they exist at the genetic level. Elsewhere, they are creating healthy crops and looking at the possibility of reviving extinct species. There is a chance, and a healthy one at that, that CRISPR could change life on earth as we know it. And with it, there are mountains of ethical and moral questions that have no answers.

It’s my hope that in the coming months and years I will find a way to somehow participate in these conversations and help others participate, too. 2017 is poised to be another wild ride, and I’m grateful for the pause to help me process it.

About Christa Avampato

I make a living in business and I make a life as a writer, artist, and yogi. I use my business and storytelling skills to build a better world. My first novel, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, will be published in the Fall of 2017 by Thumbkin Prints, a children's and YA imprint of Possibilities Publishing Co. My creative career has stretched across Capitol Hill, Broadway theatre, education, nonprofit fundraising, health and wellness, and Fortune 500 companies in retail, media, and financial services. In every experience, I have used my sense of and respect for elegant design to develop meaningful products, services, program, and events to help people live happier, healthier lives. A recovering multi-tasker, I am a proud alum of UPenn (BA) and the Darden School at UVA (MBA). When not in front of my Mac, I’m on my yoga mat, walking my rescue dog, Phineas, traveling with a purpose, or practicing the high-art of people watching. I am proud to New York City my home, and I've been called the happiest New Yorker by friends and strangers alike. They're right. Follow my adventures on Twitter at and Instagram at


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