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SIROCCO Partner Olivier Voinnet awarded 2009 EMBO Gold Medal

Olivier Voinnet from the CNRS Institute of Plant Molecular Biology in Strasbourg, France, has been awarded the 2009 EMBO Gold Medal for his pioneering work on the mechanisms and roles of gene silencing via RNA in plants.

Dr Voinnet is a partner in FP6 Integrated Project SIROCCO which conducts research into the role of small RNAs in gene regulation. “Olivier Voinnet is one of the most extraordinary young scientists that I have encountered,” writes David Baulcombe, SIROCCO Coordinator and Professor of Botany at the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, UK. RNA silencing is a highly competitive field in molecular biology. It describes a gene regulation process that has implications for the maintenance of genome integrity, antiviral defense, and developmental patterning in many organisms. Defects in these processes can result in major human diseases including cancer. With the annual Gold Medal award, the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) recognizes the outstanding contributions of young researchers in the molecular life sciences. The EMBO Gold Medal is widely regarded as one of the most prestigious life sciences awards in Europe, highlighting the high standards of Europe’s best scientists.

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