Paola Arimondo | AIChE

Paola Arimondo

Director of Research
Institut Pasteur

Dr. Paola B. Arimondo works at the interface of Chemistry and Biology and develop original chemical tools able (i) to elucidate, at the molecular level, the biological mechanisms that are aberrant in human diseases and (ii) to target these mechanisms aiming at novel therapeutic strategies. She studied Chemistry at the University of Pisa (Scuola Normale Superiore, Italy) and received her Ph.D in Biophysics at the MNHN in Paris. In October 2001, Paola Arimondo was recruited by the CNRS in Paris. Her research focused on the interactions between nucleic acids and proteins and their modulation by small chemical molecules. Initially she developed a strategy to target at a specific DNA site a class of antitumor agents directed against human DNA topoisomerases I and II, resulting in site-specific “DNA scissors”. The strategy was patented and developed in collaboration with a pharmaceutical company, Sigma Tau, Italy. After a six-month sabbatical in 2005 at the University of California in Berkeley, she initiated a new project developing an innovative antitumor strategy aiming at the epigenetic control of gene expression in cancers. In 2011, Paola Arimondo was recruited to lead the Laboratory of Epigenetic Targeting of Cancer (ETaC) USR3388, a joint public-private Laboratory between the CNRS and Pierre Fabre Laboratories, in Toulouse, France. ETaC research projects spanned from the chemistry of the natural products to the discovery of chemical modulators of DNA methylation in cancer. Under her leadership the ETaC laboratory in Toulouse has discovered novel potential drugs and biomarkers. In 2016-2017 she was Oversea Fellow of the Churchill College, Cambridge, UK. In January 2018 she start a new Research Unit Epigenetic Chemical Biology (EpiChBio) at the Institut Pasteur dedicated to the design and use of novel chemical tools to study the molecular mechanisms underlying the aberrant methylation in cancer cells towards a better understanding of the disease and how to target it.   The Institut Pasteur offers a unique integrated research frame from microbiology to cancer, from chemistry, structural biology to cellular biology and in vivo experiments. The chemical tools I develop will bring an alternative approach to address the biological questions and, in return, their knowledge and expertise in biology will be a certain asset for our research.