Nobel Prize winner Emmanuelle Charpentier receives honoris causa at MENDELU

19. 9. 2023
On 13 September, Emmanuelle Charpentier, a French researcher in the fields of microbiology, genetics and biochemistry, received the honorary degree of doctor honoris causa at Mendel University in Brno. Together with her colleague Jennifer Doudna, the scientist won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her invention of a method of genome editing using the so-called CRISPR-Cas9 genetic scissors. In her speech, she spoke about the importance of teamwork and the future of research that will build on the CRISPR method.

I am honoured that Mendel University in Brno, which bears in its name the name of the founder of genetics Gregor Johann Mendel and develops his legacy, is awarding this title to the world-renowned French researcher in the field of genetics, microbiology and biochemistry, Professor Emmanuelle Charpentier,” said Jan Mareš, Rector of MENDELU.

My personal achievements awarded with this title would not have been possible without the enthusiasm and hard work of my international team of young students and PhD students, and without the institutions and funding bodies in Austria, Sweden and Germany that enabled me to set up laboratories and develop research projects,” Charpentier said in her speech.

Her research laid the foundations for the development of the transformative and revolutionary gene editing and engineering technology CRISPR-Cas9, which has been embraced by the scientific community worldwide. Over the past decade, the technology has become a versatile tool for engineering gene editing and is now an integral part of genetic techniques used in laboratories. According to the scientist, CRISPR-Cas opens up entirely new possibilities in biotechnology and biomedical gene therapy. “The field of CRISPR-Cas biology and engineering continues to evolve at a rapid pace, with great new developments emerging almost every week. The technology continues to evolve as well, with many new discoveries in basic biological research, with large-scale medical and biotechnology applications to come in the future,” the scientist outlined.

Emmanuelle Charpentier was born in 1968 in Juvisy-sur-Orge, France. She graduated from Université Paris VI Pierre et Marie Curie, specialising in natural sciences. She developed her scientific career at research institutions in France, the United States, Austria, Sweden and Germany. Since 2015, she has served as Scientific and Executive Director of the Max Planck Society for Infectious Biology in Berlin, and is an Honorary Professor at Humboldt University Berlin. In 2018 she founded an independent research institute for pathogen research. She is widely recognized for her groundbreaking research that laid the foundation for the revolutionary genome engineering technology CRISPR-Cas9.

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