Maxime Patigniez has been awarded the Prize for the Best Master’s Thesis 2023 in Chemical Biology, for his research entitled “Implementation of the 3D-ED technique” at the Dubochet Imaging Centre (DCI Geneva), University of Geneva, under the supervision of Dr Céline Besnard.
The prize was awarded by the Swiss Network for Interdisciplinary Education in Chemical Biology (SNE Chemical Biology) at the University of Geneva on 23 January 2023, following the oral defence presented by the students at the end of the Master in Chemical Biology, a course jointly organised by the University of Geneva and EPFL.
Maxime Patigniez’s work has led to the implementation at the UNIGE of an electron diffraction technique, 3D-ED(3-Dimensional Electron Diffraction), which makes it possible to resolve the structure of molecules, complexes of molecules, ionic compounds, proteins, etc. at the atomic level (resolution greater than 1 Ẳnstrom (10-10 m)). The method includes continuous recording of the diffraction from a single crystal while rotating inside a Transmission Electron Microscope. The collected information is then processed to finally solve the crystal structure. This method is basically similar to single crystal X-ray diffraction. It uses an electron source instead of X-rays, which makes it possible to exceed the size limit of crystals. From several tens of micrometres under X-rays, 3D-ED can resolve the structure of much smaller crystals (tens of nanometres). Maxime Patigniez’ diploma work opens the way to many local researchers to determine the three-dimensional molecular structure of microcrystals less than 1μm in size.
Maxime Patigniez did a Bachelor in Biology at the University of Geneva. He was always attracted by any kind of science and wasn’t knowing which way to go after my bachelor. During the COVID pandemic he took one year off to work in a lab as a technician. After countless PCR test performed there, it was clear to him that he wanted to go further in his science education. The Master in Chemical Biology he undertook was a great opportunity. Through its multi-disciplinary curriculum, Maxime could learn more in biology, chemistry and also physics. For someone that had never known which way to go or which beer to order (!), this Master was the best choice to take to have multiple choices ahead for his future career.
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