Freja Ekman is interested in engineering novel gene therapies to target rare genetic diseases and using computational genomics to better characterize them.
She is currently pursuing her MD-PhD at Stanford University, where she is working with Professor Matthew Porteus to develop CRISPR/Cas9-based gene therapies to target hematopoietic diseases and create new cancer immunotherapies.
Prior to pursuing her goal of becoming a physician-scientist, Ekman received her bachelor’s degree in chemical biology from the University of California, Berkeley, and her master’s degree in translational biomedical research as a Gates Cambridge Scholar at the University of Cambridge. She subsequently worked as a computational chemist for D.E. Shaw Research, where she used simulations to better understand the dynamic movement of CRISPR/Cas9 rather than the static image seen in protein X-ray structures.
Ekman was born in Germany, and moved to Southern California when she was in elementary school. She enjoys playing soccer, running and playing board games with her family in her free time. She is also interested in advocating for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and working with local community efforts focused on deinstitutionalization.