Audrey Noireterre and Mireia Andreu Carbo share the 2023 Laemmli Prize

Friday, March 8th, 2024

The Laemmli Prize is awarded in honor of Ulrich Laemmli, for an exceptional thesis in Life Sciences in a field related to molecular biology. The prize of 6’000 CHF is generously sponsored by the royalties of a patent endowed to Ulrich Laemmli’s former departments at UNIGE.

Audrey Noireterre did her PhD in the lab of Francoise Stutz (Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology) and is currently a post-doctoral fellow in the same laboratory.

Audrey’s doctoral work [1] focused on identifying and characterizing new factors essential for signaling and repairing DPCs, in the model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae. One of her main work centered on investigating the role of the segregase Cdc48 along with its cofactor Ubx5. Although Cdc48 had been previously associated with DNA repair, its particular involvement in DPC repair remained unclear until Audrey showed that Ubx5 and Cdc48 are controlling DPC accessibility on DNA. She also participated in the identification of a new protease called Ddi1, capable of efficiently degrading DPCs. Additionally, her research led to study how the various repair mechanisms and factors are orchestrated within cells.

These results may provide new insights for understanding the resistance associated with chemotherapeutics. It could also help in predicting responses to new therapies and in identifying new tumor biomarkers. Audrey’s thesis was also awarded the Arditi Prize 2023 .

“I am truly honored that my thesis was selected among all the great work here at the University of Geneva. Ulrich Laemmli’s contributions to molecular biology, such as the development of techniques like Chromatin Endogenous Cleavage (ChEC), were super helpful during my thesis. So, being awarded the Laemmli prize means a lot to me!”

Mireia Andreu Carbo' s thesis [2] in the lab of Charlotte Aumeier (Department of Biochemistry) focused on how the motor usage imprints microtubule stability along the shaft. During her thesis, Mireia discovered that walking kinesin-1 damages the microtubule shaft. Paradoxically, these damages get repaired leading to the rejuvenation of the microtubules and ultimately in their stabilization. Kinesin-1 motors do not only transport cargoes but modify their underlying microtubule tracks which might reinforce and mark preferential highways for subsets of motors. Mireia’s work had a significant impact on the understanding of the interplay between microtubule tracks and intracellular transport.

Mireia is currently a Postdoctoral fellow in Patrick Meraldi and Patrycja Nowak-Sliwinska labs (Cell Physiology and Metabolism; School of Pharmaceutical Sciences; UNIGE) working on the establishment of a pipeline for personalized treatment for colorectal cancer using patient-derived organoids. In particular, she aims to determine optimal low-dose synergistic drug combinations patient-specific; as well as to understand the underlying mechanism of action of the efficacy of the treatment.

“I am very honoured to have been awarded with this prize for my thesis. It acknowledges the hard work, perseverance, and invaluable support and guidance received along my research journey. I am truly humbled and thankful for this recognition, inspiring me to continue pushing the boundaries of scientific discoveries”.

1. Noireterre, A. "DNA-Protein Crosslinks: from Detection to Repair”. 2022. DOI: 10.13097/archive-ouverte/unige:166736

2. Andreu Carbo, M. " Motor usage imprints microtubule stability in the shaft”. 2022. DOI : 10.1101/2021.04.09.439170