Chiara Stringari, a CNRS researcher at the Laboratory for Optics and Biosciences at École Polytechnique, the CNRS and Inserm, has been awarded the prestigious Young Investigator grant of the 2017 Human Frontier Science Program (HSFP).
The Human Frontier Science Program promotes intercontinental collaboration in cutting-edge, interdisciplinary basic research focused on the complex mechanisms of living organisms. The program is financed by 14 countries from around the world, as well as by the European Union and supports the top 3% of research grants applications worldwide. Chiara Stringari is a member of one of the 30 teams of researchers who were selected among more than 1,000 applications.
Together with biologist Lorena Aguilar-Arnal from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Chiara Stringari will receive a total of 750,000 US-Dollars over a period of three years.
The international team was recognized for the project "Chromatin dynamics and nuclear metabolism: an intimate interplay uncovered by non-linear optics", which aims to understand epigenetic mechanisms during stem cell differentiation and in particular investigate the influence of cellular metabolism on gene expression. The project will develop innovative optical methods based on two-photon fluorescence lifetime microscopy to study the interaction of endogenous metabolites with chromatin in the cell nucleus.
This research will make it possible to decipher the fundamental mechanisms of stem cell differentiation and improve cellular reprogramming to obtain specialized cell lineages and tissue regeneration. Moreover “the development of label-free optical imaging approaches can have a significant impact on several non-invasive biomedical applications” says Stringari.
The interdisciplinary collaboration involves various disciplines such as non-linear optics and fluorescence microscopy for Stringari's team and advanced molecular and cell biology for the Arnal-Aguilar group. “The HPSP funding scheme is a unique opportunity that brings together a remarkable diversity of disciplines and countries, and we’re really lucky to benefit from it,” says Stringari.
Chiara Stringari obtained her PhD in physics jointly at the European Laboratory for Non-linear Spectroscopy in Florence and the University of Trento (Italy) in 2008. After her postdoctoral training at the University of California, she was recruited by the CNRS in 2014 to develop advanced optical imaging microscopy methods to image intact biological tissues with subcellular resolution.
ABOUT ÉCOLE POLYTECHNIQUE / École Polytechnique is the leading French institute which combines top-level research, academics, and innovation at the cutting-edge of science and technology. Its various undegraduate and graduate-level programs – Bachelor’s degree, Ingénieur Polytechnicien, Master’s, Graduate Degree, PhD program and PhD– are highly selective and promote a culture of excellence with a strong emphasis on science, anchored in humanist traditions. As a widely internationalized university, École Polytechnique offers a variety of international programs and attracts a growing number of foreign students and researchers from around the globe (currently 30% of students and 39% of faculty members).