Four Advanced ERC grants for our SV professors

© 2013 EPFL

© 2013 EPFL

Four professors leading research groups at the Faculty of Life Sciences have been awarded an ADVANCED GRANT 2013 from the European Research Council (ERC), in recognition of their outstanding research performed at the EPFL

Global Health Institute

  • Gisou Van der Goot, head of the Laboratory of Cell and Membrane Biology, for her research on the Roles of Palmitoylation networks in the ER architecture and functions.
  • Bruno Lemaitre, head of the Laboratory of Immunity and Host-pathogen Interactions, for his research on the Drosophila-Spiroplasma interaction as a model to dissect the molecular mechanisms underlying insect endosymbiosis: virtually every species of insect harbors facultative bacterial endosymbionts that are transmitted from females to their offspring, often in the egg cytoplasm. These symbionts play crucial roles in the biology of their hosts. Many manipulate host reproduction in order to spread within host populations. Over the past decade, our understanding of insect endosymbionts has shifted from seeing them as fascinating oddities to being ubiquitous and central to the biology of their hosts, including many of high economic and medical importance. However, in spite of growing interest in endosymbionts, very little is known about the molecular mechanisms underlying most endosymbiont-insect interactions. The goal of the present application is to fill this gap by dissecting the interaction between Drosophila and its native endosymbiont Spiroplasma poulsonii.

Interfaculty Institute of Bioengineering

  • Jeffrey Hubbell, head of the Laboratory of Regenerative Medicine & Pharmacobiology (Merck Serono Chair in Drug Delivery), for his research on Engineering Cytokines for Super-Affinity Binding to Matrix in Regenerative Medicine.

ISREC - Swiss Institute of Experimental Cancer Research

  • Pierre Gönczy, head of the Laboratory of Cell division and Mitosis Processes, for his research on Dissecting the mechanisms governing centriole formation: centrioles and the related basal bodies are critical for the formation of cilia and flagella. In animal cells, centrioles are also required for centrosome assembly and thus for orchestrating cell polarity, motility and division. The mechanisms by which centrioles form has been a long standing question in cell and developmental biology. Aberrations in centriole number, structure and function are associated with disease conditions, including ciliopathy, microcephaly and cancer, such that centriole biology is of utmost relevance for human health. With the present ERC grant, we intend to use a unique combination of cell biological, molecular genetic, biochemical, ultrastructural, proteomic and functional genomic approaches to further dissect the mechanisms governing centriole formation across evolution.