Meet the 2023 Louis-Jeantet Prize Winners

The 2023 Louis-Jeantet Prizes are awarded to Dario ALESSI, Director of the MRC Protein Phosphorylation Unit at the University of Dundee, UK, and, jointly, to Ivan ĐIKIĆ, Director of the Institute of Biochemistry II at Goethe University Frankfurt, and Brenda SCHULMAN, Director at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried, Germany.

Picture: Fondation Louis-Jeantet. Left to right:  Brenda SCHULMAN, Ivan ĐIKIĆ et Dario ALESSI.

The 2023 Jeantet-Collen Prize for Translational Medicine is awarded to DARIO ALESSI, of British nationality, for elucidating molecular bases of neurodegenerative disorders and developing novel approaches to therapeutic intervention in Parkinson’s disease. Dario Alessi has discovered components which regulate protein phosphorylation or ubiquitination pathways that are linked to human disease, in particular neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. His research efforts have led to fundamental breakthroughs in unravelling the role of LRRK2 kinase in Parkinson’s disease. This has enabled clinical development of LRRK2 inhibitors which are currently being tested in late phase clinical trials promising therapeutic strategies to slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease in patients.

The 2023 Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine is awarded jointly to IVAN ĐIKIĆ, of Croatian nationality, and to BRENDA SCHULMAN, of American nationality,  for their contributions to our understanding of the functions of ubiquitin and the mechanisms of ubiquitination. Ubiquitination is one of the most important post-translational modifications regulating the stability and functional activity of proteins, thereby playing a pivotal role in protein homeostasis. Failure of the ubiquitin system causes various diseases such as cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and hypertension. Using complementary approaches, Ivan Đikić and Brenda Schulman have been key contributors to our understanding of the ubiquitin field. Brenda Schulman discovered secrets of ubiquitin conjugation cascades and Ivan Đikić discovered how conjugated ubiquitin alters cellular functions in innumerable ways.

Based in Geneva, the Louis-Jeantet Foundation aims to advance medicine. To this end, it supports biomedical research, whether fundamental or clinical. It encourages the pursuit of innovative work at all levels of a researcher's career. This dynamic positioning is what makes it so unique. The Foundation devotes some 3 million francs per year to biomedical research, a sum invested in equal parts in European projects and in local projects linked to the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Geneva.

January 24, 2023