Actualité - Award

Enzo Poirier is a recipient of an ERC Starting Grant one year after establishing his research team


On 1st December 2021, Enzo Poirier joined Institut Curie as a Junior Principal Investigator (JPI) on the new Stem Cell Immunity team. A year later, the freshness of his approach has earned him an ERC Starting Grant. In addition to the scientific quality of his project, this prestigious funding highlights the welcoming, supportive approach to junior team leaders implemented at the Research Center.

Portrait Enzo Poirier

After completing his virology thesis at Institut Pasteur, then a postdoctoral contract at the Crick Institute in London, to study the antiviral immunity of stem cells, it was only natural that, in December 2021, Enzo Poirier joined Institut Curie Research Center to establish his Stem Cell Immunity team (Inserm U932 / Institut Curie).

To support this project, The European Research Council awarded him the Starting Grant, which is awarded to promising young researchers and involves funding of nearly €1.5 million over five years.

I wish to send heartfelt congratulations to Enzo on obtaining this ERC, just a year after establishing his team. It’s a testament to the high quality of his work. I’m also happy to see that the measures implemented by the Research Center to attract the best talent to work at our laboratories, and support them in this work, is bearing fruit (see inset). Enzo is part of a young generation of dynamic, up-and-coming researchers that we wish to see flourish at our facility

Proclaims Prof. Alain Puisieux, director of Institut Curie Research Center. 

The study of stem cells and their unique viral defense mechanisms

To maintain the structure of tissues, end-of-life cells are replaced by new ones. This essential task is performed by stem cells, which, like any other cell, can be attacked by viruses. Enzo Poirier’s work involves studying the antiviral defense of these stem cells. More specifically, the project involves the aviD protein. The benefit of this protein is its ability to act as a “molecular scissors” which cuts viral genomes, thus counteracting infection attempts. He aimed to study the immune response by comparing models that express aviD to those that don’t, and analyzing the ability of their stem cells to resist infection. In this context, Enzo Poirier is also interested in the role of aviD in controlling transposable elements, DNA sequences which can integrate into various parts of the genome, thus disrupting its organization. This system can be particularly active in cancer cells.

Understanding the role of aviD could lead to avenues for developing new antitumor treatment approaches!

Enthuses Enzo Poirier.

Three-star support for Junior Principal Investigators at Institut Curie

New Junior Principal Investigators (JPIs) receive a starting package on arrival at the Research Center. This involves financial support and tailored services to establish a research team, in particular, with the assistance of a scientific editor for ERC projects. This supportive approach is only possible thanks to the generosity of the public.

What particularly pleased me on arrival at Institut Curie was the ability to perform laboratory experiments from the first week, thanks to shared equipment. The team was quickly able to settle in and talk to the existing teams,” confides Enzo Poirier.

From arrival, new JPIs have access to their offices, shared equipment in their unit, administrative support and common resources made available at the Research Center.