In 2015, the Lelio Orci Award was initiated by Lelio Orci, emeritus professor at the University of Geneva (Faculty of Medicine). The objective of the award is to honor an outstanding scientist for his/her research achievements or a promising young researcher in the field of Cellular Biology. The board of trustees of the Lelio Orci Fonds will award for the first time in 2015 the Lelio Orci Award 2015, a sum of 10,000 Swiss francs, to Prof. Gisou van der Goot at the Life Sciences Switzerland - LS2 – Annual Meeting in Lausanne, Amphimax/Amphipôle February 16, 2015. As part of the award ceremony, Gisou van der Goot will present her work in a public seminar in the lecture hall “Erna Hamburger” (Amphimax), at 16:45.
Prof. Gisou van der Goot studied engineering at the Ecole Centrale de Paris, then graduated with a PhD in Molecular Biophysics at the Nuclear Energy Research Center, Saclay (France) in 1990. She worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (Heidelberg, Germany) for four years. In 1994, she started her own research group at the department of Biochemistry (Faculty of Science) at the University of Geneva, and became Associate professor at the Faculty of Medicine in 2001. She moved to the EPFL in Lausanne in 2006 where she was appointed Full Professor and co-founded the Institute of Global Health. Since 2008, she is project coordinator of LipidX, a research project embedded in the Swiss Initiative in Systems Biology (SystemsX.ch). She joined the National Center for Competence in Research (NCCR) in Chemical Biology in 2011. Prof. van der Goot has been involved in many research evaluation and funding organizations, including the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), the European Research Council (ERC) and the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). She was President of Life Sciences Switzerland (LS2) from 2012 to 2013.
Her research has focused primarily on the mechanisms of bacterial infection, notably how bacterial toxins (such as anthrax toxin), make their way through a cell, the subsequent cell response, and the physiological and pathological roles of anthrax toxin receptors. She then became interested in the mechanisms that control the compartmentalization of mammalian cells and their membranes. Her work has been funded by many prestigious organizations, including the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (USA) and the European Research Council (ERC). In 2009, she was awarded the Research prize of the Leenaards Fondation for her work on infectious diseases jointly with other scientists. The same year, she was awarded the Marcel Benoist Prize, this was the first time this prize had been awarded to a woman.