We are pleased to announce that Dr. Andrea Ballabio, founder and director of the Telethon Institute of Genetics and Medicine (TIGEM), Italy, Professor at the Baylor College of Medicine and faculty member at the NRI has been selected to receive the 2016 Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine. He will share this award with biochemist John Diffley, associate research director at the Francis Crick Institute, United Kingdom.
Established in 1986, the Louis-Jeantet Prize for medicine is awarded each year to experienced researchers who have distinguished themselves in the field of biomedical research in Europe. It is intended to encourage the continuation of innovative research projects of major importance to fundamental or clinical medicine.
It is awarded by a prominent European non-profit organization, Louis-Jeantet Foundation whose mission is to recognize and foster medical progress for the common good. As one of the best-endowed awards in Europe, the Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine fosters scientific excellence and has been awarded to 84 researchers.
Ten winners of the Louis-Jeantet Prize for medicine have subsequently been distinguished by the Nobel Prizes in physiology or medicine, or in chemistry.
Prof. Ballabio was chosen for this award for his contributions in elucidating molecular mechanisms controlling the function of lysosomes in health and disease.
Lysosomes are organelles responsible for the degradation of cellular waste. A growing number of diseases are associated to lysosomal dysfunction such as neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, obesity and infections. Andrea Ballabio’s group identified a master gene that globally controls lysosomal function and promotes intracellular clearance of accumulating pathological materials. These observations revealed a new biological pathway and provided a tool to modulate lysosomal function to treat human diseases.
Prof. Ballabio has received many awards and recognitions for his work. He was President of the European Society of Human Genetics, Council member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). In 2007, the President of the Italian Republic appointed him Knight of the Order of Merit. He received the European Society of Human Genetics International Award (2007) and the Advanced Investigator Award of the European Research Council (2010). In 2006, he was Torchbearer at the XX Torino Olympic Winter Games.
The award ceremony will be held in Geneva (Switzerland) on Wednesday, 20 April 2016.