Foundation Prize

Laureate 2011
Denis Duboule

2011 Prize awarded to Denis Duboule, Genetics specialist

Monday 12 September 2011 at 6:30 pm, Victoria Hall, Geneva

In choosing Denis Duboule as the 2011 winner of the Foundation’s Prize for Geneva, the Foundation Board is rewarding a world-renowned genetic researcher. A specialist in the study of the mechanisms that direct the establishment of the major axes of the body and the formation of limbs in mice, Denis Duboule and his team have gained wide recognition by demonstrating that the genes directing these mechanisms follow each other on the chromosome in an order that corresponds both to the position of their respective zones of action in the organism and to the temporal sequence of their expression during embryonic development.

His work is consistent with similar observations made in other organisms and confirms the great similarity of developmental regulatory mechanisms throughout the animal kingdom.

Denis Duboule is now recognized as a world specialist in developmental genetics. He was one of the first to study the “Hox” genes and highlighted their essential role in limb formation and the fundamental mechanisms of their function. His discoveries on the subject launched a field of research that has since become extraordinarily active and has important implications for understanding the evolution of species.

On September 12, 2011, during the award ceremony, Professor Duboule gave a lecture on the theme “the triumph of the embryo”, which was greatly appreciated by the 1500 participants, including three classes of high school students.

The President of the University Paris-Descartes Axel Kahn launched into a vibrant laudatio addressed to the laureate. Ivan Pictet, President of the Foundation, Pierre Maudet, Mayor of the City of Geneva, and Pierre-François Unger, State Councillor, reminded the audience of Geneva’s good fortune in having the presence of personalities such as Professor Denis Duboule on its soil. With regard to teaching and scientific research, our authorities did not fail to emphasize the need to develop them better, through effective interregional collaboration.

The musical interludes were provided by a quartet of young musicians, Little Hot Peppers, from the Geneva jazz scene.

The Fondation pour Genève would like to thank the partners of the 2011 Prize, in particular Merck Serono, the Republic and Canton of Geneva, the City of Geneva, the University of Geneva, the national research cluster “Frontiers in Genetics” and Le Temps for their important contribution to the success of this event.


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