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Professor Greta Guarda, Group leader at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB, affiliated to Universitą della Svizzera italiana, USI), is the joint recipient, with Prof. Nicola Aceto of the University of Basel, of the Friedrich-Miescher-Award (FMA) 2020, to be conferred during the annual conference of LS2 (Life Sciences Switzerland, the leading organisation in Switzerland dedicated to life sciences) on February 13 at the Irchel Campus of the University of Zurich. The award was assigned for her outstanding work combining biochemical, genetic, and molecular approaches with translational models.
Prof. Guarda adopts these approaches to study new mechanisms that regulate lymphocyte activity and immunity in the context of inflammatory, infectious and tumour diseases. For example, her research group has detected new genes that are important for the immune response, increasing basic knowledge and suggesting potential therapeutic applications in the fight against cancer. "I am very pleased to receive this award together with Prof. Aceto. It gratifies me and my collaborators for their research work and motivates us to continue with the same passion", comments Greta Guarda, who is also an associate professor at the USI Faculty of Biomedical Sciences.
Greta Guarda studied Molecular Biology at the University of Zurich and performed her diploma work at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich. From 2004 to 2007, she carried out her Ph.D. work on T cell-mediated immunity at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB), Bellinzona. In 2007, she joined as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Lausanne, where she became a senior lecturer in 2010. During these years, she focused her research on NOD-like receptors and inflammasome function. She established her independent research group in 2012 thanks to the award of a Swiss National Science Foundation professorship and a European Research Council starting grant in 2013. In March 2018, Greta Guarda joined the IRB as Group Leader. For her scientific contributions, she was awarded the "Premio Fondazione Dr. Ettore Balli 2018" and the "Pfizer Research Prize 2019". Since 2016, she is a member of the Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology. Recently, she has been elected a member of the Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT).
The Friedrich-Miescher-Award is awarded to Swiss or Swiss-based young scientists for their outstanding professional achievements in the biochemistry field. The performance is determined by the originality and impact of their work as measured by their track record of publications in high impact factor journals of international scientific relevance; their independence of work and innovative ideas, their importance for future developments such as to strengthen their current position or to obtain staff position, and also for their personality and productivity in relation to their age.
Prof. Guarda is the third IRB researcher to receive this prize after Maurizio Molinari (2006) and Petr Cejka (2017).