Emmanuelle M. Charpentier

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Primary Section: 44, Microbial Biology
Secondary Section: 21, Biochemistry
Membership Type:
International Member (elected 2017)

Biosketch

Emmanuelle Charpentier is a microbiologist, geneticist and biochemist, recognized for her groundbreaking findings in the field of RNA-mediated regulation, particularly with respect to the CRISPR/Cas9 system. She has laid the foundation for the development of a novel, highly versatile and specific genome engineering technology that is revolutionizing life sciences research. Charpentier is Director at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin, Honorary Professor at Humboldt University, Alexander von Humboldt Professor, Germany, and Visiting Professor at the Laboratory for Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden, Umeå University, Sweden. Prior to her current appointments, she was Head of Department at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research and Professor at the Hannover Medical School, Germany, and Assistant and Associate Professor at the Max F. Perutz Laboratories, University of Vienna, Austria. She has held several research associate positions in the U.S., at the Rockefeller University, New York University Langone Medical Center and Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, New York and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis. Charpentier received her undergraduate and graduate education from the University Pierre and Marie Curie and the Pasteur Institute, Paris, France. She has received prestigious international awards and distinctions, and is an elected member of national and international academies.

Research Interests

Emmanuelle Charpentier’s laboratory is interested in understanding cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating physiology, virulence and infection in Gram-positive bacterial pathogens. Her laboratory investigates how RNAs and proteins coordinate to modulate gene expression at the transcriptional, post-transcriptional and post-translational level. They study regulatory RNAs and proteins in various biological pathways such as horizontal gene transfer, adaptation to stress, physiology, persistence, virulence, infection and immunity. In particular, her laboratory researches on DNA- and RNA-mediated interference systems in the defence against genetic elements (CRISPR/-Cas), small regulatory RNAs that have roles in pathogenic processes, protein quality control that regulates bacterial adaptation, physiology and virulence, and the mechanisms of bacterial recognition by immune cells. A greater understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of regulation in pathogens is critical to generate new findings in basic science and possibly translate them into novel biotechnological and biomedical applications (e.g. genome editing tools, anti-infective strategies). A successful example of the application of Charpentier's basic research in biotechnology and medicine is her recent discovery of an RNA-guided DNA cleavage mechanism that has been harnessed as an RNA programmable genome engineering technology and that stems from her analysis of the adaptive immune CRISPR/Cas9 system in bacterial pathogens.

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