The Liliane Bettencourt Prize for Life Sciences (300.000€) is awarded annually since 1997 to an european researcher recognized by the scientific community for the quality of his international publications, the leadership in his field, a promising project and the human qualities he has shown to mobilize an entire team. The prize is awarded alternately to a researcher based in France or working in another european country.
One of the most remarkable properties of a living tissue is its combination of robustness and plasticity. Disruptions in this finely tuned balance can underlie disease including solid cancers, and uncovering the processes and mechanisms that shape organs and other tissues is one of the fundamental problems in biology.
Thomas Lecuit, a member of the French Academy of Sciences, has made a series of pioneering discoveries, advancing the understanding of mechanisms controlling animal tissue morphogenesis. These include advances in the processes underlying growth factor signalling that controls tissue growth and patterning, cell polarization associated with cellular adhesion and tissue cohesion, and the mechanical underpinnings of tissue dynamics and plasticity.
Thomas Lecuit’s work lies at the interface of the life sciences and the more quantitative sciences (including physics and computation). With this prospective view of biological sciences, Thomas Lecuit federates 13 multidisciplinary teams of the Luminy Campus and Aix-Marseille University around a unifying project on systems biology (INFORM Labex), funded by the University Foundation A*MIDEX.
For his scientific work and leadership, T. Lecuit has been awarded the 2015 Liliane Bettencourt Prize for Life Sciences.