Two Montpellier researchers win Chairs of Excellence in Biology/Health

Giacomo Cavalli and Jérôme Dejardin, researchers at the Institute of Human Genetics, are among the 22 national winners of the Chaire d'excellence en biologie / santé (Chair of Excellence in Biology/Health) scheme, one of the levers of the 2030 healthcare innovation plan.

The aim of the Chaire d'excellence en biologie / santé (Chair of excellence in biology and health) program is to retain and attract the best researchers in their field to France, thereby strengthening the excellence of French research. Endowed with funding of €2 to 3 million each, these chairs are designed to enable new large-scale projects to be carried out in France over a 5-year period.

The names of the 22 researchers selected by the jury were made public on Monday April 22, including two from the Institut de Génétique Humaine (IGH).

Giacomo Cavalli has been selected for his EpigeneticMemories project, which aims to decipher the role of regulatory factors in the epigenetic inheritance of alternative chromatin states. EpigeneticMemories will identify the molecular steps leading to epigenetic cancer in Drosophila, and test the role of epigenetic inheritance in mammalian cell differentiation. This CNRS-coordinated project will decipher how epigenetic components can lead to stable changes in cell fate over the course of evolution.

Jérôme Dejardin has been selected for his project Endloops, telomere loops: mechanisms and functions. Telomeres are nucleoprotein structures located at the end of chromosomes, whose regulation is crucial for maintaining genome stability and underlies cellular aging phenomena. The Inserm-coordinated Endloops project aims to understand the control of telomere length and protection during early development, with a particular focus on telomere ends, known as telomere loops (t-loops), which may play a role in protecting chromosome ends.