Awards, honors, prizes Archive


Congratulations to B.Desvergne and T.Auer on their FBM awards!

The CIG warmly congratulates Béatrice Desvergne and Thomas Auer on their FBM awards:

Equality Award : Béatrice Desvergne
In recognition for her sustained contribution toward promoting gender equality


Young Researcher in Basic Sciences Award: Thomas Auer
For his pioneering work establishing a new neurogenetic system model with Drosophila sechellia


Complete list of awardees available on : 


Congratulations to both F.Langlet and A.Vjestica on their ERC Starting grant !

Both Fanny Langlet (group Thorens) and Aleksandar Vjestica were awarded with an ERC starting grant.
We all wish them the best in their projects: respectively “Tanycyte/arcuate Neuron communications in the regulation of energy balance (TANGO)” and “Zygotic Cell Fate and Parent-Biased Gene Expression in Fission Yeast (ZygoticFate)”.

F. Langlet’s award was also presented on the UNIL website “L’Actu”:
List of the awardees: 
Further information on the ERC Starting grants:


Marieke Hoekstra and Olivier Michaud’s awarding were mentioned in the FBM news n°72

Remise des Prix de Faculté 2019

Lors de la Cérémonie d’ouverture des cours & de remise des Prix de la FBM qui s’est tenue le 19 septembre 2019, dix Prix de Faculté, deux Prix d’Excellence et treize Prix spécifiques ont été décernés à des étudiant·e·s, doctorant·e·s ou professionnel·le·s qui se sont distingué·e·s par leurs travaux ou leur engagement personnel.

Parmi les lauréats, deux membres du CIG ont été récompensés:

Marieke Hoekstra, PhD (Franken lab) pour son travail intitulé: «The sleep-wake distribution contributes to clock gene expression: a descriptive and a mechanistic study»

Olivier Michaud, PhD (Fankhauser lab) pour son travail intitulé: «Mécanismes fondamentaux de la régulation par la lumière des réponses nastiques dans les organes foliaires d’Arabidopsis thaliana»


Link to the complete article: 


Congratulations to Thomas Auer on his Ambizione grant ! 

Thomas Auer (RB) was awarded with an Ambizione SNSF fellowship.
We all wish him the best in his project: Gustatory circuit evolution in Drosophilids.


Eating is a fundamental necessity for the survival of each animal. However, we know little about how perception of food differs between species and how this perception is modified for exploration of new food sources.

Smell and taste are the two primary senses that guide the decision to approach or reject a potential food substrate. This decision is based on sensory input of olfactory (smell) and gustatory (taste) chemosensory organs where receptors expressed in sensory neurons interact with defined chemical ligands. Studies in Drosophila melanogaster, with its sophisticated genetic toolset, have helped to gain fundamental insights into the sensing of taste modalities such as sweet and bitter. Physiological and behavioral approaches have additionally provided links between receptors, neural circuits, and behavioral outputs. Despite these advances in D. melanogaster, relatively little is known about how the architecture of taste circuits evolves, nor how evolutionary changes in neural systems impact behavioral traits: How are stimuli perceived by closely-related species with different feeding habits? What circuit modifications are necessary for the same stimulus to trigger opposite behavioral responses? Is peripheral sensing or central processing more prone to changes, and how is this used for ecological adaptations?

We will employ an ideal system, the closely-related Drosophila species D. melanogaster and D. sechellia, to study gustatory circuit evolution. These flies show opposing behaviors upon exposure to hexanoic acid: D. melanogaster is repelled while D. sechellia is attracted. This behavior is highly relevant for the ecology of D. sechellia, as it lives exclusively on a single host fruit enriched with hexanoic acid. Using a comparative evolutionary approach we will decipher how acid sensing gustatory circuits differ between both species.

We will answer if evolutionary adaptations in the receptor repertoire lead to differential sensing of information at the periphery and/or how neural circuit connectivity modifies the perception of the sensed information in the central brain. Thereby we will reveal how evolution shapes chemosensory perception, how this affects an animal’s behavioral choices and leads to the occupation of specific ecological niches.

Further information:


Génopode Retreat 2019: best poster prizes

The prizes for the best posters were given this year at the Génopode Retreat in Leysin (Sept. 12 & 13, 2019) to:

1st prize: Anne-Sophie Fiorucci (Fankhauser lab)

2nd prize: Sophie Croizier (Thorens lab)




Congratulations to Eleonora Porcu received the SIB Early Career Bioinformatician Award on Sep. 10, 2019!

The CIG is proud to announce that Eleonora Porcu (AR lab) received on Sep. 10, 2019 the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics Early Career Bioinformatician Award.
Congratulations to her!
Further information on the Early Career Bioinformatician Award: