Almouzni has investigated the basic mechanisms involved in chromatin assembly from the nucleosome to higher order structures such as those found in heterochromatin domains. These dynamics in the cell cycle and in cell development, as well as under genotoxic stress have been central to her research. "Her work has greatly extended our understanding of chromatin assembly and DNA repair," says Sir John Gurdon, winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, who worked with the award winner on examining aspects of nuclear reprogramming involving histone variants.
Prof. Geneviève Almouzni | at the Institut Curie in Paris
"It is a great honor for all scientists who work in the field of chromatin and epigenetics, particularly for all women in science," said the award winner upon hearing of her distinction. The French scientist has been an inspiring mentor and motivator for other women in science throughout her career at the Institut Curie. She is also highly engaged with the European scientific community as the coordinator and member of international projects such as the FP6 Epigenome Network of Excellence and the FP7 European Network of Excellence EpiGeneSys. Her publishing record encompasses more than 160 papers and she sits on numerous committees and editorial boards including the advisory editorial board of The EMBO Journal. "Her capacity to succeed at all levels and still have the time and energy for others is admirable," says her colleague Edith Heard, Research Unit director at the Institut Curie.
Geneviève Almouzni studied biology at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. She completed her PhD at the University of Paris and started her professional career in the laboratory of Marcel Méchali, where she managed to identify critical molecular mechanisms regulating DNA replication and chromatin assembly. After completing a CNRS research assistant position in 1991, she moved to the lab of Alan Wolffe, a scientist who turned the chromatin field into a mainstream research subject. In 1994, Geneviève Almouzni was awarded a junior investigator grant of the CNRS and started as a junior group leader at the Institut Curie.
She has held appointments as head of research unit and deputy director of the Institut Curie. The French scientist received the silver medal of the CNRS and became a member of the scientific advisory board of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory and Panel Member of the European Research Council (ERC). Recently, she received an ERC Advanced Investigator grant and obtained a Laboratory of Excellence grant from the French Ministry of Research. She has served as elected member of the EMBO Council since 2011.
(© EMBO, AcademiaNet)