Cell biologist Prof. Henri-François Renard awarded a "Francqui Start-up Grant" of 200.000 EUR

Trained as a bio-engineer, Henri-François Renard completed a PhD thesis on membrane trafficking mechanisms in yeast cells in the lab of Prof. Pierre Morsomme at the Louvain Institute of Biomolecular Science and Technology (LIBST) of the UCLouvain between 2006 and 2010. Early 2011, he was hired as a postdoc researcher at the Institut Curie in Paris to work on membrane trafficking mechanisms in mammalian cells, and in particular on endocytosis of bacterial Shiga toxin. In 2015, Henri-François came back to Pierre Morsomme’s lab at the UCLouvain for a second postdoctoral fellowship, where he started running his own projects.

Since January 2020, Henri-François Renard joined the Biology Department of UNamur as an assistant professor and established his own research team within the Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology (URBC). His current research interests deal with biological membrane deformations that happen in many cellular processes, with a particular focus on a new clathrin-independent endocytic process (Renard HF et al., 2020).

Emilie Rigaux was recently hired as a doctoral assistant at UNamur. From September 2020, she will start a PhD thesis in Henri's group on the role of clathrin-independent endocytosis in cancer cell migration. Furthermore, a position is open for an additional PhD student working at the interface of cell biology and cancer cell immunology, under joint supervision by UNamur/UCLouvain. The latter project will tackle fundamental questions related to the regulation of immunogenic properties of cancer cells by clathrin-independent endocytic mechanisms, in collaboration with the group of Prof. Pierre van der Bruggen (de Duve Institute, UCLouvain).

In June 2020, the Francqui Foundation decided to award a “Francqui Start-up Grant” of 200.000 EUR to Henri-François Renard, half of which will be financed by the Francqui Foundation itself and the other by the University. While some of his research activities are still ongoing at UCLouvain (LIBST), this prestigious grant will give Henri-François a boost to further develop his own research group at UNamur (NARILIS). Through this mandate, Henri-François will also bear the title of “Collen-Francqui Docent” for a period of three years.

The funding will be used to finance the acquisition of a “super-resolution” fluorescence microscope, an equipment that can achieve higher resolution than traditional light microscopy and allows to visualize living subcellular structures and activities at the nanometer scale.

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