photo of Laura Eme

Dr. Laura Eme, at Paris-Saclay University, was awarded the Hutner Prize for her contributions to understanding the origins and early evolution of Eukaryotes, with an emphasis on protist evolution. Dr. Eme has used her expertise in molecular evolution to deepen our understanding of eukaryotic diversity, phylogeny, and evolution. Her broad interests in evolutionary biology are reflected in the diversity of topics she has addressed, including (i) the deep structure of the eukaryotic tree of life and placement of novel protist lineages, (ii) the age of major eukaryotic evolutionary transition, (iii) the evolution of key cellular systems across eukaryotes, (iv) the Asgard archaeal origin of eukaryotes, and (v) the origin and evolution of mitochondria. These have resulted in a unique proficiency in understanding eukaryotic evolution through a combination of top-down (from the eukaryotic perspective) and bottom-up (from the prokaryotic perspective) approaches.

She has also made important contributions to the field of protist genomics through investigations of the role of lateral gene transfer and epigenetic regulation on protist genome evolution, as well as the description and characterization of protist genomes from understudied lineages.

As part of her commitment to the protist community, she has organized multiple online seminars, special events, and in-person symposia, and she is an Associate Editor for the journals Genome Biology and Evolution, and Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.

Her contributions have been recognized through several competitive scholarships and international grants including an ERC Starting Grant.


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