Anne Bertolotti, from the LMB’s Neurobiology Division, has been awarded The GlaxoSmithKline Award 2018 by the UK’s Biochemical Society.
The Biochemical Society exists to advance molecular and cellular biosciences, and with over 6000 members, is the largest discipline-based learned society in the field of life science. Each year the Biochemical Society makes a series of prestigious awards that recognise excellence and achievement in both specific and general fields of science. The GlaxoSmithKline Award is given in recognition of research leading to new advances in medical science and is made in respect of research carried out in the UK or the Republic of Ireland during the 7 years preceding the date of nomination.
Anne has been a group leader at the LMB since 2006. Her lab is interested in understanding the mechanisms underlying the deposition of proteins of abnormal conformation in cells, a hallmark of many pathological conditions, such as neurodegenerative diseases. In addition, she is looking at strategies that can help cells boost their natural defences against misfolded proteins, aiming to correct numerous conditions characterised by the accumulation of these misfolded proteins. Anne has made outstanding contributions to our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underpinning neurodegenerative diseases and has translated her findings towards the therapeutic arena by discovering a new drug candidate (Sephin1) that brings hope for the treatment of age-related diseases. Sephin1 is the first selective inhibitor of a serine-threonine phosphatase. This represents an important discovery because phosphatases were thought to be undruggable. Sephin1 is selective because it targets the regulatory subunit of a phosphatase. There are hundreds of phosphatases that could in principle be inhibited using the same paradigm opening up a broad range of possibilities to safely and selectively manipulate cellular functions, perhaps for therapeutic benefit.
The winner of the GlaxoSmithKline Award receives a glass sculpture designed and produced by the sculptor Katharine Dowson. Anne will give an Award Lecture at a Biochemical Society conference during 2018.