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Geneviève ALMOUZNI, PhD (EMBO member, Member of the French Academy of Sciences, fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, Director of the Research Center of the Institut Curie from sept. 2013 to sept. 2018 and honorary director since then) is director of research exceptional class at the CNRS. She is Principal Investigator of the Chromatin dynamics team in the Nuclear dynamics research Unit (UMR3664 CNRS/Institut Curie) since 1999. She is a world leader in understanding genome organization and function during development and disease in particular in cancer. She has combined biochemistry, cell biology and physical approaches with advanced imaging to explore chromatin dynamics. Active in the field of epigenetics and European actions, she coordinated the EpiGeneSys Network of Excellence to move epigenetics towards systems biology. She is highly engaged in promoting young scientist career. She received prestigious grants (ERC Advanced Grants) and awards including Woman in Sciences FEBS / EMBO (2013) and the grand prix FRM (2014). She served on the EMBO Council (Vice-chair in 2014), ERC Council (2019), chair of the alliance EU-LIFE and co-chairs European FETFlagship initiative LifeTime.

Chromatin plasticity, cell fate and identity

Monday, September 7 | 11:20 am (CEST)

During development and throughout life, a variety of specialized cells must be generated to ensure the proper function of each tissue and organ. Chromatin dynamics plays a key role in determining cellular states, whether totipotent, pluripotent, multipotent, or differentiated, therefore influencing cell fate decisions and reprogramming. In my laboratory we focus on the capacity of histone variants, chaperones, modifications, and heterochromatin factors to influence cell identity and its plasticity during development but also during disease onset and progression in particular cancer. Recent advances in single-cell technologies now allow to access to cellular trajectories both in healthy tissues and disease states with an unprecedented level of detail. With the LifeTime Initiative, we have mobilized an interdisciplinary community at European level to exploit these approaches to understand how cells transition into a diseased state in order to detect and treat diseases before major tissue damage has occurred. By generating new knowledge and integrating it with new technological solutions in healthcare, we aim to intercept disease onset or progression based on a patient’s particular molecular and cellular signatures. LifeTime vision is based on research programmes directed to the patient and the implementation of a cell-based and interceptive medicine in Europe, leading to a significant improvement of citizens’ living quality.