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Postdoc alum Carole Linster and her team at the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) win FNR 2020 Award for Outstanding Scientific Publication.

Linster leads the Enzymology and Metabolism group as an Assistant Professor and Principal Investigator at the LCSB at the University of Luxembourg. She and her group members Nicole Paczia, Julia Becker-Kettern, Jean-François Conrotte, and Daniel Kay, received the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) award for “their work on describing an unknown childhood disorder and that this has a genetic cause”. Linster’s award video can be viewed below.

Linster was a UCLA postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry from 2006 to 2010 working with biochemist Professor Steven Clarke. During that time, she and Clarke received attention for their research identifying a crucial enzyme in plant vitamin C biosynthesis, which promised to lead to enhanced crops. Read more here

In a collaborative effort, the researchers identified the genetic cause of a severe novel childhood disease. Affected children typically suffered from episodes of neurological regression triggered by mild fever or infection, neurodegeneration, and skin lesions, eventually leading to early childhood death.

The international group of biologists and clinicians, including researchers from the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) of the University of Luxembourg, and investigators at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Exeter Medical School, was able to link genetic mutations to an enzyme deficiency which leads to devastating effects in tissues such as the brain and the heart. The results were published in the scientific journal Brain.

The FNR annually presents awards in the categories ‘Outstanding Scientific Publication’; ‘Outstanding PhD Thesis’; ‘Outstanding Promotion of Science to the Public’, with ‘Outstanding Research-Driven Innovation’ added for the first time in 2017. The prizes are normally presented at the annual FNR Awards Ceremony, attended by the Minister for Higher Education and Research, Claude Meisch. This year, due to Covid-19 restrictions the awards were announced digitally.  With the FNR Awards, the FNR aims to encourage communication between researchers, and to promote science-related activities aimed at the general public and the young. The FNR Awards highlight such work and reward both the awardees and their institutions.

Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry,