UCMR Alumna Emmanuelle Charpentier
Awarded Nobel Prize in Chemisty 2020
Emmanuelle Charpentier, Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens, Berlin, Germany, and Jennifer A. Doudna University of California, Berkeley, USA, receive the Nobel Prize in Chemisty for "developing a method of genome editing".
Emmanuelle Charpentier was one of the first recruited group leaders at the Laboratory for Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden, MIMS, within the Umeå Centre for Microbial Research (UCMR) at Umeå University. During Emmanuelle Charpentier’s studies on Streptococcus pyogenes, she discovered a new molecule, tracrRNA, which together with CRISPR RNA and Cas9 play an important role in activation of the CRISPR-Cas system's defense mechanism in the pathogen Streptococcus pyogenes and other bacteria. She published the finding in 2011 in Nature. In the same year, she initiated a collaboration with Jennifer Doudna. Together, they showed how the bacterial protein Cas9 led by two guide RNAs (crRNA and tracrRNA) can identify targets in invading genes. They also showed how the system can be readily reprogrammed to be applied on any gene - which has proven to be a very versatile gene editing tool. This work was published 2012 in Science.
The CRISPR-Cas9 technology has in a short time been adopted by numerous researchers around the world in basic research and been applied in many different areas of science - including medicine and veterinary medicine, agriculture and biotechnology. Clinical trials of new cancer therapies and treatment of inherited diseases using this technology are underway.
Emmanuelle Charpentier was group leader at MIMS from 2009–2014 and visiting professor at UCMR from 2014–2017. In 2017, she was awarded an honorary doctorship. Since 2015, she has been mentor of UCMR “Excellence by Choice” postdoctoral program.
Emmanuelle Charpentier visited UCMR and MIMS in 2019 for a symposium to celebrate Bernt Eric Uhlin. In her speech she said about her time at UCMR and MIMS:
"When people ask me what attracted me in Umea, I reply that MIMS and UCMR could offer me what I was looking for: an innovative model for a new research institution, freedom of research, an understanding for risky projects and an understanding that more unconventional research projects need time and focus, respect for young students and scientists, a world-class scientific education for the junior scientists, an interactive and relaxed environment where scientific discussions are always a priority, and an enjoyable community of colleagues always ready to challenge novel scientific questions."
”We are all very happy about the fantastic news that Emmanuelle is awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry and send her our warmest congratulations.” says Bernt Eric Uhlin
”Congratulations! Emmanuelle! We are proud of you.” says Yaowen Wu, ”Thank you for your contribution to the excellent research environment of UCMR. Your outstanding achievement exemplifies how important the curiosity-driven research is. We will work together to continue strengthening world-class researches.”
Contact persons for more information:
Bernt Eric Uhlin, professor, founding director of UCMR and MIMS
Phone: 090-785 6731, 070-675 7344
Yaowen Wu, professor and director of UCMR since 2020
Phone: 090-786 5531, 070-206 7589
Emmanuelle Charpentier's lab:
Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens, Berlin
Campus Charité Mitte
10117 Berlin, Germany
Watch the movie about Emmanuelle Charpentier by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg foundation, 2019
Picture. Hallbauer&Fioretti, Braunschweig