Mateusz Mendel’s thesis is honoured with the 2022 Arditi and Laemmli Prizes

Mateusz Mendel wins the Laemmli Prize 2022 (ex aequo with A.K. Pfitzner from the Biochemistry’s Department) and the Arditi Prize 2022, for his thesis entitledThe Conserved Role of METTL16 m6A Methyltransferase in Gene Expression Regulation’.

Mateusz’ thesis in the lab of Ramesh Pillai focused on how a particular chemical modification of messenger RNA, called N6-methyladenosine, controls gene expression. During his thesis, Mateusz looked at several proteins responsible for depositing, reading, and erasing this modification on messenger RNA, using a combination of structural, biochemical, and genetic approaches. His main body of work concerns the methyltransferase METTL16, which he showed to be essential for early embryonic development in mice [1]. In the worm model C. elegans, the homologous enzyme responds to nutritional cues methylating a specific pre-mRNA to regulate its splicing, with the splicing inhibition by N6-methyladenosine being also conserved in mammals [2]. Mateusz’ fundamental discoveries bring evidence that RNA modifications can directly affect RNA processing and thus gene expression, in response to environmental cues. 

Mateusz Mendel defended his thesis [3] in Molecular Biosciences in September 2021 and is presently a scientist in Lead Discovery at Roche, where he is involved in creating new gene therapy tools and searching for novel inhibitors for non-standard targets.


1. Mendel, M., et al., Methylation of Structured RNA by the m(6)A Writer METTL16 Is Essential for Mouse Embryonic Development. Mol Cell, 2018. 71(6): p. 986-1000 e11.

2. Mendel, M., et al., Splice site m(6)A methylation prevents binding of U2AF35 to inhibit RNA splicing. Cell, 2021. 184(12): p. 3125-3142 e25.

3. Thesis Mateusz Mendel: DOI:  10.13097/archive-ouverte/unige:159126

28 Nov 2022