ERC : Yotis Senis awarded for his outstanding work at Inserm

Yotis Senis, who joined the Inserm unit 1255 « Biology and pharmacology of blood platelets: hemostasis, thrombosis, transfusion » in Strasbourg five years ago, has seen his project « Maintenance of platelet homeostasis by tyrosine phosphatases and vascular heparan sulfates » retained for fundings. 

Yotis Senis

The multidisciplinary approach, ranging from biophysics to transgenic mouse models, should lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms triggering platelet production by megakaryocytes and their regulation in the bloodstream, which are still largely unknown. Major findings should be made, laying the foundation for a new branch of biology to identify new strategies for in vitro platelet production and transfusion medicine. This should pioneer a novel class of therapeutics for the treatment of MK/platelet-based pathologies.

3 questions to Yotis Senis about his successful proposal!

What does this grant will allow you to do?

This grant will lay the foundation for my research group in France, build momentum in an increasingly competitive field and try to resolve major unanswered questions in innovative new ways.

What does this prize symbolize for you? How did you react when you received the acceptation?

Prestige, esteem, recognition of standing in the field and creative approach to science, and confidence in me as a researcher and person who can get the job done, or on the right track.

I was over the fucking moon to put it mildly. Tremendous relieve, overjoyed. Humbling experience weaving this research proposal, defending and convincing world leading scientists that it and I am worth the investment. The culmination of years of hard work, sacrifice, risk and deep reflection. The timing impeccable as we have recently made key advances in the laboratory that I would like to capitalize on. Building a new research group in a new country is no easy task, but an invaluable experience and odyssey that has shaped me and the research I pursue.

The decision letter arrived on 25 March, Greek Independence Day. My roots are Greek, so it was very symbolic, as this grant provides tremendous freedom and leverage to do the research I want. My folks survived a lot, and sacrificed everything to raise my siblings and me. Sadly, they passed away years ago and did not get to see the fruits of their labour. However, they instilled in me the fortitude, right work ethic, pioneering spirit and deep love of knowledge and understanding that drive me and my research. Thus, I dedicate this grant to them, somewhere in the firmament.

The first person I shared the news with was my wife, Alexandra Mazharian-Senis with who I share an office. She is also an Inserm researcher and brilliant scientist in her own right. She made the move from England to France with me five years ago, is my #1 collaborator and supporter. I could not have done it without her.

I am eternally grateful to the ERC, Inserm and Alexandra. Now for the fun part, the science and discovery!

Anything else you’d like to share or emphasize! 

Alexandra and I enjoyed a lovely bottle of Champagne with our boys that evening.