Fabien Duveau, a postdoctoral fellow and evolutionary biologist, has been awarded the prestigious European Molecular Biology Organization Fellowship.

The 12-month fellowship award of over $40,000 is from EMBO, headquartered in Heidelberg, Germany. The award, which recognizes excellence in life sciences, is sponsored by 27 governments, which contribute to the General Program of the European Molecular Biology Conference.

Duveau works in the lab of Professor Patricia Wittkopp. His main interest is to understand how biases in mutational spectrum can influence evolutionary trajectories, with a particular focus on gene expression in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. “To this end, I am trying to identify and characterize the properties of hundreds of mutations previously isolated in the Wittkopp lab that affect the transcription level of a focal gene (TDH3),” Duveau said. “This powerful experimental approach will also be extended to the analysis of additional yeast promoters to unravel gene properties affecting mutational spectra. This work will provide a better understanding of the evolutionary role of mutations, which will be instrumental for improving models of regulatory evolution. In a broader scope, the study of mutational spectra in unicellular eukaryotes should also help to predict mutation-driven phenotypes in human such as birth defects or cancers.”