Distinguished Scientist: Channabasavaiah Gurumurthy, PhD

Channabasavaiah Gurumurthy, PhD

Channabasavaiah Gurumurthy, PhD

This profile is part of a series to highlight the researchers who will be honored at a ceremony for UNMC’s 2020 Scientist Laureate, Distinguished Scientist and New Investigator Award recipients.

  • Name: Channabasavaiah Gurumurthy, PhD
  • Title: Professor, UNMC Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience; director, Mouse Genome Engineering Core Facility
  • Joined UNMC: 2007
  • Hometown: Davangere, India

The Distinguished Scientist Award

The Distinguished Scientist Award, sponsored by UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, recognizes researchers who have been among the most productive scientists at UNMC during the past five years.

Research focus:

  • Genome editor

The goal of my research is: tweaking technologies. My science colleagues often call me, “Technology Guru/CRISPR Guru/Mouse Guru.” I develop genome-editing technologies and custom mouse models useful for various biomedical research fields (from cancer to neuroscience to COVID-19 research). My innovations have advanced the work of dozens of researchers at UNMC (funding more than $25 million), and several hundreds of researchers worldwide. My other goal is to share knowledge freely with those interested, inspire as many junior researchers as I can and mentor to advance their careers (helping them not to struggle the way I had to before I reached my current stage).

My research will make a difference because:

My work has made, and will continue to make, a difference in the following way. I am fortunate to be working in the interface of two Nobel-awarded technologies: mouse genome engineering and the CRISPR-Cas systems, awarded in 2007 and 2020, respectively. I also am fortunate to be working with two talented scientists, Don Harms and Rolen Quadros, and a long-term collaborator, Masato Ohtsuka, PhD (Tokai University, Japan). Together, we have made several improvements to the two Nobel-awarded technologies, publishing more than 25 papers, ultimately developing Easi-CRISPR — an approach now regarded as a revolutionary method in our field. Easi-CRISPR now is adapted as a method of choice at several hundreds of laboratories worldwide, and it has put UNMC on the world map of CRISPR mouse genome editing technologies. A few companies and institutes are investigating our technical contributions for use as gene therapy platforms for cancer and some genetic diseases.

The best advice I’ve ever been given is:

Two pieces of advice from my late father have shaped my life and career: the first one in 1995, when he forced me to leave my home-state (Karnataka), and sent me to an institute 1,500 miles away; the second one in 2003, when I was leaving India in pursuit of a career.

  • Don’t limit yourself to just BVSC (DVM). Get a PhD and see where it will take you.
  • You are a kind, generous and soft-hearted person. You could get lucky to work with people like yourself — but remember, the world around you could take advantage of your traits, making you feel that they are your weakness. If you continue to be yourself, someday your core values can become your strengths.

Three things you may not know about me are:

  • I enjoy road trips. I have driven more than 1,000 miles in one day (dawn to dusk), and driven 23 hours, nonstop (except for rest area stops).
  • I had a lot of stage fright. Because I was top in my class, my language teacher selected me to represent my high school in a county-level debate, thinking I would win a medal. I stood on stage shivering and did not say a word. In just the past couple of years, I have given over 75 seminars, keynote talks and conducted workshops in 10 countries.
  • After ten years of post-PhD struggle, I feel I might be a rare example in academia: re-starting my career from scratch as a core director and reaching for full professor tenure without receiving any resources — no startup money and no students or postdocs in my team.


  1. M. Elizabeth Blackburn says:

    Congratulations Guru! Overall a great, kind person!!

  2. swagat says:

    Congratulations Dr. Guru

  3. Larisa Poluektova says:

    Congratulations Guru and best wishes for your future work.

  4. Tom O’Connor says:

    Kudos, Guru. You have done a tremendous job. Your work has made a difference around the world. Keep it going!

  5. James Grunkemeyer says:

    Congratulations Guru! Well-deserved honor!

  6. Jatin Machhi says:

    Congratulations Guru! Your journey is a true inspiration for young scientists.

  7. Paula Turpen says:

    Congratulations, Guru! So happy to see you recognized for your accomplishments!

  8. Dan G says:

    A big congratulations to you, Dr. Gurumurthy!

  9. Jerrie Dayton says:

    Guru. your science is so important for the world. You are absolutely an asset here at UNMC. It is my privilege and honor to work with you. I wish you continued success and so much appreciate your kind heart.

  10. Rebecca Bogatz says:

    Congratulations, Guru! Well deserved.

  11. Kay Wagner says:

    Well deserved, Guru. Congratulations!

  12. Kim Bainbridge says:

    Congratulations Guru. So well deserved.

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