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Rut Carballido-López awarded 2012 ERC Starting Grant

Rut Carballido-López, research scientist at the food microbiology for health unit, Micalis, at INRA Jouy-en-Josas, was among the young researchers chosen to receive a 2012 Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). She will receive 1.6 million euros in funding, allowing her to further her breakthrough research in bacterial cell biology.

Rut Carballido-López. © INRA
By Nicole Ladet, translated by Daniel McKinnon
Updated on 04/29/2013
Published on 09/24/2012

ERC Starting Grants aim to provide up-and-coming researchers with the resources they need to develop ideas on the cutting edge of modern science and to expand or to strengthen their research teams. As Carballido-López explains, “this 1.6 million euro grant, allocated over five years, will allow me to add five people to my research team during that period and to acquire the equipment necessary to carry out my research. The ERC is the only body providing funding equal to that in England or the United States available to researchers in France.” Carballido-López is the third researcher and first woman from INRA to receive this grant. Of the 4,741 applicant projects in 2012, only 11.3% were selected by the Starting Grant jury, and of projects selected 24% were led by women. Excellence is one of the selection criteria, as is the fostering of international knowledge’s leading edge.

How is bacterial shape determined?

Carballido-López’s work centres around one primary question: How is bacterial shape determined? “To answer that we look at two main deciding factors: the cell wall, the rigid exterior surrounding bacteria that antibiotics like penicillin target; and the intracellular cytoskeleton, which directs cell wall synthesis much like a scaffolding” says Carballido-López. “Understanding how bacterial cell walls are formed could aid in the search for new antibiotics and for new antibiotic targets, a pressing issue as bacteria are now becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics.”

Contact(s)
Scientific contact(s):

Associated Division(s):
Microbiology and the Food Chain
Associated Centre(s):
Jouy-en-Josas

Career

Rut Carballido-López, born in Spain, decided to pursue her university education in France. At the age of 17, she left Barcelona for INSA Lyon’s first-ever intake to the EURINSA programme for European engineers. She graduated with a biochemical engineering degree with the European Union’s Euforia certification. Following a short stint at Hoffmann-La Roche Laboratories in Switzerland, she continued her studies, receiving a post-graduate degree in general microbiology from the Institut Pasteur in Paris and a doctoral degree from Oxford. She followed this up with a brief post-doctoral position at INRA in France, after which she was recruited as a researcher in the microbial genetics unit – now a part of the much larger Micalis unit – at INRA Jouy-en-Josas.

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