NIH/NIGMS Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award

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Professor Guillaume Chanfreau has been awarded a highly prestigious Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) R35 Grant from the NIH/NIGMS.

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), part of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded Chanfreau $1.97 million over five years to support his research program which is focused on understanding how genes regulated after transcription. In particular, the Chanfreau lab aims to understand how cells mediate RNA quality control and how dysfunction of enzymes involved in degrading RNA lead to human diseases.

The MIRA program supports investigators’ overall research programs through a single, unified grant rather than individual project grants. The goal is to provide investigators with greater stability and flexibility, thereby enhancing scientific productivity and the chances for important breakthroughs. 

A professor of biochemistry, Chanfreau joined the UCLA faculty in 1999. He received his B.S. in biology from the University of Lyon & Ecole Normale Supérieure Lyon, and his Ph.D. in microbiology at the University of Paris VI; Habilitation, University of Paris XI. After graduation, Chanfreau was a Human Frontier Postdoctoral Fellow with Professor Christine Guthrie at the University of California, San Francisco and then a CNRS Research Scientist at the Institut Pasteur with Professor Alain Jacquier.  

In 2017, Chanfreau was awarded the American Cancer Society’s Determination Award for his cancer research.

The Chanfreau group is interested in gene expression regulation in eukaryotic cells, with a particular emphasis on post-transcriptional steps. Within this large field, they are focusing on understanding how cells degrade RNAs that arise from malfunctions in gene expression pathways (“RNA surveillance”). In particular, they are analyzing the functions of the double-stranded RNA endonuclease RNase III and of the nonsense-mediated decay pathway in RNA surveillance, and how these enzymes regulate gene expression.

Update: This news was reported in UCLA Newsroom on January 25, 2019. Read the article here.

Article by Penny Jennings,