NARILIS PhD student Louise Gerard awarded “Best oral communication” prize at Annual Dermatological Research Congress 2021!

The Laboratory of Molecular Cancer Biology, led by Prof. Jean-Pierre Gillet (UNamur, URPhyM), seeks to better understand the mechanisms underlying cancer development and resistance to chemotherapy. Four PhD students currently work in the lab: Laurent Duvivier (since 2016), Louise Gerard (since 2019), Adriana Diaz (since 2020) and Anaïs Draguet (since 2021). The team conducts research on ATP Binding Cassette (ABC) transporters, a superfamily of membrane proteins involved in the translocation of a wide range of molecules across membranes. The group previously showed that ABCB5 was mutated in 14% of 640 melanoma samples analyzed and that these mutations resulted in a loss of function of the transporter. Studies in four melanoma cell lines revealed an increase in the proliferation and migration capacity of mutant ABCB5-expressing cells, suggesting that ABCB5 plays a role in the development of melanoma as a tumor suppressor gene.

Louise Gerard holds a Master degree in Biomedical sciences. She joined Jean-Pierre Gillet’s lab as a PhD student in October 2019. On the 1st of July 2021, Louise had the opportunity to participate at the Annual Dermatological Research Congress which was held virtually. She was invited to present the lab’s latest findings about a "half like" transporter ABCB5β and its heterodimerization profile. Her brilliant presentation was recognized with an “Oral communication” award in the oncology session!