Kamila Delaney from research group of Florian Steiner wins the 2020 Arditi thesis prize

Wednesday, January 18th, 2023

How do eukaryotic cells efficiently package DNA without interfering with the work of regulatory and transcriptional factors?

For her thesis work in Florian Steiner’s lab at the Department of Molecular Biology, Kamila Delaney looked at histones, the building blocks of nucleosomes that neatly package DNA into a condensed structure called chromatin. Histones are fundamental regulators in guiding access to this packaged DNA. Kamila studied one such histone variant, to understand how it would affect chromatin function. Working in the worm model C. elegans, Kamila showed that histone H3.3, while dispensable for survival or fertility of worms, is important for tolerating high temperatures.

Developing this H3.3 worm model allowed Kamila to address a far more vital question: how does a mutated form of human H3.3 drive paediatric high-grade gliomas? The answer to this question, which represents the core of Kamila’s thesis, sets the basis for drug target identification against this particularly aggressive form of childhood cancer.

Kamila is currently an EMBO postdoctoral fellow at the Institut Curie in Paris, digging deeper into chromatin.

The Arditi foundation annually rewards one doctoral thesis among PhD students of the Section of Biology, for its originality and scientific impact. More information about the prize can be found here.