BSCB PhD Award – Inaugural Raff Medal Winner 2021: Flora Paldi

Raff PhD Medal Winner 2021

Flora Paldi

Flora obtained her BSc with Honours in Molecular Genetics from the University of Edinburgh in 2015. In the same year, she joined the Wellcome 4-year PhD Programme in Cell Biology, University of Edinburgh. Following a rotation year, she started her PhD in the lab of Professor Adele Marston at the Wellcome Centre for Cell Biology.

Flora’s PhD focused on the role of pericentromeric chromosome structure in mitotic chromosome segregation. Using budding yeast as a model, her work deciphered the chromosomal structure in which kinetochores are embedded in mitotic metaphase, and the restructuring that is caused by microtubule attachment. She showed that the ring-shaped protein complex cohesin, together with centromere-flanking convergent gene pairs structure pericentromeres. As the resulting structure promotes accurate chromosome segregation, this constitutes an important conceptual advancement, establishing the linear arrangement of transcriptional units as a novel parameter governing genome transmission.

During her PhD, Flora communicated her findings to national and international conferences where her presentations were singled out on multiple occasions. Her work was recently published in Nature and created excitement in the field because it demonstrated a direct, causal relationship between the 3-dimensional organisation of a specific domain with cellular function. Besides research, Flora was also an active member of the scientific community, participating in peer support, student representation, public engagement and the organisation of local scientific events. Currently, she is working as a postdoc in the lab of Giacomo Cavalli (IGH-CNRS Montpellier, France), where she continues to explore the relationship between 3-dimensional genome organisation and transcription.

You can follow Flora @flora_paldi on Twitter. The medal will be awarded at a virtual medal lecture during the next joint BSCB/Biochemical Society meeting, Dynamic Cell IV Dynamic Cell IV which will be held on 14-19 March 2021.

The BSCB PhD Award – Raff Medal was established in 2020  to recognise BSCB PhD students who have made outstanding contributions to UK/Ireland cell biology. The medal has been named after Professor Martin Raff who was the president of BSCB from 1992-1995. Martin was instrumental in setting up and running the first 4-year PhD graduate programme in Molecular Cell Biology at the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology (LMCB) at UCL.

You can see Flora’s medal talk here.