Susana Coelho honored with the Coups d'Elan Award

Susana Coelho, Director of the research department on Algal Development and Evolution at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, is awarded the French Coups d'Elan Prize of the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation. The prize recognizes her pioneering scientific achievements by providing novel insights into evolutionary research and sexual reproduction. The award comes with a grant of 250,000 Euros and has been presented at a virtual ceremony in Paris on November 30.

Dr. Susana Coelho

Susana Coelho, who has been researching at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen since September of this year, enjoys wide international recognition on her concepts about the origin and evolution of the sexes and sexual life cycles of living organisms. Building on the special characteristics of brown algae as a model organism, Coelho aims to gain new insights into the functional principles associated with key wraps in evolution and their effects on living organisms and their ecology.

Corresponding to the motto "taking talent to the top", the Coups d'Elan Award promotes researchers on their threshold to new and groundbreaking findings that have never been achieved by anyone else before. This is also the case with Susana Coelho, who wants to get to the bottom of the mechanisms, causes and consequences of sudden changes in the evolution of living beings. One of her next goals is to establish an international knowledge platform around the phenotyping of brown algae which the grant is supporting.

“With this prize, the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation is enabling the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in Roscoff, my former place of activity, to further advance the knowledge on brown algae gained so far. I am particularly pleased for my former research team, with whom I will keep collaborating. The Roscoff platform will nicely complement the wide range of genetic and genomic resources we are developing here at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen,” Susana Coelho says. “The idea is to build an internationally opened algal phenotyping platform across Tubingen and Roscoff to advance knowledge on these amazing organisms.”

Before joining the Max Planck Society, Susana Coelho worked as a leading researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in Roscoff, France, where she was appointed Research Director in 2015. During that period, she has been awarded the bronze medal of the CNRS and the Trogoboff Prize of the French National Academy of Sciences.

The award Coups d'elan pour la recherche française was created by the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation in 2000. Since, more than 50 French laboratories have benefited from this particular prize. It is awarded each year to four public biomedical research teams from INSERM (Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale) and the Institute of Biological Sciences of the CNRS in France. Due to the pandemic situation, the 2020 award will be handed over during a virtual ceremony aired from Paris, France.