Andrea Dessen, team leader of the Bacterial Pathogenesis group, has been awarded the 2021 Silver Medal of the CNRS. This medal is presented to a researcher for the originality, quality, and importance of their work, which is recognized at national and international levels.
Andrea Dessen is graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Rio de Janeiro. She did her PhD work at New York University and her postdoctoral training both at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (New York) and at Harvard Medical School (Boston), the latter with Pr. Don C. Wiley. She then worked as a staff crystallographer at Genetics Institute/Pfizer in Cambridge, MA, in the Small Molecule Drug Development Dept. Upon moving to France, she was hired by the CNRS in 2000 in Dr. Otto Dideberg’s laboratory at the IBS. As a CNRS Research Director she has been the head of the Bacterial Pathogenesis group at the IBS since 2012. In addition, she also directs a 2nd group at the Brazilian Biosciences National Laboratory (LNBio/CNPEM) in Campinas, São Paulo, thanks to a Laboratoire International Associé (LIA) partnership between the CNRS and the CNPEM in Brazil.
The main interest of both groups involves the structural and functional characterization of bacterial virulence factors and cell wall biosynthesis machineries, as well as the identification of novel antibacterial compounds in natural product libraries. The main techniques employed by the teams include X-ray crystallography, electron microscopy, high throughput screening and natural product characterization, as well as biochemical, biophysical and microbiological approaches.