The national Latsis Prize 2012 to Prof. Jacques Fellay

© 2012 EPFL

© 2012 EPFL

Our warm congratulations to Prof. Jacques Fellay, member of the Global Health Institute, who has been awarded the National Latsis Prize 2012 for his research on the variations of the human genome that influence how the body reacts to viral infections and how the drugs fight them. The National Latis Prize, a sum of 100,000 Swiss Francs, is presented to Jacques Fellay on January 10, 2013, in Bern in the presence of, notably, Johann Schneider-Ammann, head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research, and Martin Vetterli, President of the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Jacques Fellay is a "bridge builder" and an advocate of translational research. Always on the borderline between laboratory and hospital, he is of the opinion that, in order to discover medically useful solutions, an exchange between the two worlds is needed.

Jacques Fellay applies this thinking in his own research, which is conducted at the intersection of genomics and infectious diseases and for which he receives the National Latsis Prize 2012. The information stored in our genes can be of great value for developing new treatments, he says.

Since 2011, as the holder of an SNSF professorship and head of his own lab at the Global Health Institute, homed at the Faculty of Life Sciences at EPF Lausanne, Jacques Fellay has kept on searching for features of the human genome that make it possible to counter viral diseases. Together with his team, he is studying mutations that occur in HIV when fought by the immune system and investigating the genetic variations of infected persons that might be the cause of this.

Bridges of hope
Jacques Fellay is also attempting to understand the different reactions of children to seasonal flu and the respiratory syncytial virus. Why do some children only have fever for a few days, while others need to be admitted to the intensive care unit? He is convinced of the potential that genomics holds for the future of medicine and continues to build bridges of hope between science and medical practice.

Worth 100,000 Swiss francs, the National Latsis Prize is one of the most prestigious scientific awards in Switzerland. Each year, the Swiss National Science Foundation presents the prize on behalf of the Latsis Foundation to researchers of up to 40 years of age in recognition of their special contribution to science in Switzerland.