Dr Jennifer Hollywood's research includes modelling kidney disease with a focus on cystinosis.
Dr Jennifer Hollywood completed her PhD in 2013 at University College Cork, Ireland where she used gene editing tools such as zinc finger nucleases and CRISPR together with donor repair plasmids as a gene therapy strategy to correct the most common cystic fibrosis causing-mutations.
In December 2014, she joined Associate Professor Alan Davidson’s lab at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. Here, Dr Hollywood developed the human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell model of cystinosis, with the goal to find alternative treatments for cystinosis.
Cystinosis is a rare genetic disease for which there is no cure. Despite treatment, patients will require a kidney transplant before they reach 20 years of age. Using CRISPR, Dr Hollywood generated cystinotic iPS cell lines and has contributed to the recent protocol from the Davidson lab for generating human kidney organoids from iPS cells. Their work has shown that the iPS cell/organoid platform can be used to model aspects of cystinosis and has identified a new combination treatment that may have therapeutic value in the treatment of this disease. This combination treatment is now being tested in a suitable preclinical model.