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Centre intégré universitaire de santé
et de services sociaux de l'Est-de-l'Île-de-Montréal

Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux de l'Est-de-l'Île-de-Montréal

Benjamin Haley

Haley, Benjamin

Research Axes

Vision health

Contact information


  • Gabriela Flores-Vargas, PHD
  • Sebastian Merker, PHD
  • Yassine El-Fazaa

Benjamin Haley holds a doctorate in biomedical sciences and heads the Functional Genomics and Genome Engineering Unit. He is a Full Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at the Université de Montréal.

Alterations in gene sequence and expression underly virtually all cellular events during the lifespan of an organism. The goal of the research program is to establish and deploy scalable genome engineering technologies in order to make sense of biological complexity. Where possible, the lab will also work to translate these technologies and fundamental discoveries for clinical application with an emphasis on cell, gene, and nucleic acid-based therapies.

Research Unit

Functional Genomics and Genome Engineering

We seek to develop, optimize, and apply next-generation molecular genetic technologies to understand gene or gene regulatory network function in a variety of disease contexts. This enables us to identify technological approaches that are specific to unique indications or cell types and those that can be used in large-scale experimentation for surveying all or most of the genome within cells from many different tissues of origin all within a single experiment. The knowledge we gain from fundamental research studies can be applied towards the advancement of next-generation therapeutics and the creation of unique cell-based disease models.

Research interests

  • Development of advanced molecular genetic technologies for modification of individual genes and whole-genome screening
  • Application of cell engineering and synthetic biology to create unique 2D and 3D cellular models of human disease
  • Primary human immune cell engineering to create next-generation cell therapies and to investigate immunomodulatory drug mechanism-of-action
  • Elucidating the molecular mechanisms of microRNA biogenesis and function

These studies aim to better understand the genetic basis of disease, identify and validate targets for future therapeutics, and guide the creation of future cell-based and genomic medicines. To achieve these goals, we use a variety of technologies including: transgene delivery (mRNA, transposons, lenti/retrovirus), CRISPR, RNAi, synthetic genes engineering cellular circuits, multiparameter flow cytometry, next-generation genome sequencing, and bioinformatic analyses.

  • Heidersbach A.J.#, Dorighi K.M., Gomez J.A., Jacobi A.M., Haley B.# A versatile, high-efficiency platform for CRISPR-based gene activation. (2023) Nature Communications
  • Chen H., Durinck S., Patel H., Foreman O., Mesh K., Eastham J., Caothien R., Newman R.J., Roose-Girma M., Darmanis S., Warming S., Lattanzi A., Liang Y., Haley B.. (2022) Population-wide gene disruption in the murine lung epithelium via AAV-mediated delivery of CRISPR-Cas9 components. Molecular Therapy - Methods & Clinical Development
  • Oh S.A., Senger K., Madireddi S., Shaw D., Haley B.#, Rutz S.# High efficiency, multiplexed non-viral engineering of human T cells using plasmid donor DNA. (2022) Journal of Experimental Medicine
  • Freund E.C., Lock J.Y., Oh J., Maculins T., Delamarre L., Bohlen C.J.#, Haley B.#, Murthy A.# (2020) Efficient gene knockout in primary human and murine myeloid cells by non-viral delivery of CRISPR-Cas9. Journal of Experimental Medicin
  • Cuellar T.L.#, Herzner A-M., Zhang X., Goyal Y., Watanabe C., Friedman B.A., Janakiraman V., Durnick S., Stinson J., Arnott D., Cheung T.K., Chaudhuri S., Modrusan Z., Doerr J., Classon M., Haley B.# (2017) The SETDB1 Histone Methyltransferase Regulates the Antiviral Response in Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Journal of Cell Biology


  • Postdoctoral Fellowship

    University of California, Berkeley

  • PhD in Biomedical Sciences

    University of Massachusetts Medical School

  • BSc in Biochemistry

    University of Massachusetts, Amherst


  • 2018 Genentech Women in Science and Engineering Ally
  • 2017 Genentech Mentor of the Year Nominee
  • 2007 American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship