Patricia Lassaux is a researcher in biochemistry and head of the molecular biomimetic and protein engineering laboratory (MBPEL), based within GIGA in the University of Liège, Belgium. Her mission is to develop applied research aimed at meeting industrial needs by using natural proteins or engineered peptides. In this context she is involved in Tarantula and in other research projects in link with asbestos detection, formaldehyde air depollution or antibacterial surfaces. (04.12.2020)
What are you working on?
My team and I, in particular with Déborah Palumbo, are developing new biocollectors based on peptides specifical to one type of mineral. For example scheelite containing tungsten. Those collectors will then be incorporated in a new bioflottation process developed by our colleagues at the GEMME from ULiège.
What attracts you in the research project you are working on?
This project is exploring a completely new approach for us and is confronting us with a completely new world, the mining community. It is extremely stimulating to collaborate with other domain of research, and I am always locking for more transversality. I hope as well join other projects connected with tarantula in order to increase our knowledge and collectors/tools so as to encounter other needs in the mining context. Plus, I really enjoy meeting new people from all over the world with different backgrounds.
Where do you work? What do you like about your organization or the city you live in?
I work in Liège, inside on of the tower of the university hospital of Liège. What I really appreciate in the university is the freedom I have to choose my research project and the flexibility of work. Plus I am part of a really great team.
The people in Liege are very welcoming and always ready to party, so the city offers many opportunities to have fun, meet people and enjoy life. Moreover, Liege is close to many other countries in Europe, I can go back to France (2 hours’ car driving) to visit my family or go shopping to Maastricht (Nederland’s) or Aachen (Germany).
How do you recharge?
I love reading; I am actually very proud of the huge library I have at home. But more than reading, I am a social person, I definitely need to interact with people, my friends and family the more I can. So I am organizing sportive activity every week with my friends, walking, swimming, Zumba, petanque tournament (of course, I’m French 🙂 ); but also parties and week-end abroad. The COVID is hard on me but I keep on walking at lunchtime with my friends on the beautiful campus of Sart-Tilman.
Patricia Lassaux was born in a town of 60 habitants in France. She moved plenty during her life: 2 years in Laval (France) to gain a BTEC in Biochemistry; 1 year of European Voluntary Service in Hereford (England) to improve her English in helping disabled people in their life; 3 years in Reims (France) to obtain a Master in Biochemistry; 6 years in Liege (Belgium) to complete a PhD in Biochemistry entitled Screening of new metallo-β-lactamases (MBLs) inhibitors and Study of the B1 subclass MBL VIM-4; 3 years in Milan (Italy) to work on the research project From Genome to Antigen: a Multidisciplinary Approach towards the Development of an Effective Vaccine Against Burkholderia pseudomallei, the Etiological Agent of Melioidosis.
She finally settled in Liège, in the MBPEL lab, that she leads since 3 years now. She is focused on the use of natural or engineered peptides/proteins. She is therefore specialized in the production/purification and characterization of proteins and also in the phage display selection.
In parallel with her research, she is a specialist volunteer within the CBRN cluster (Chemistry, Biology, Radiation, Nuclear) of the civil protection of Crisnée (Belgium). This function also allows her to continue developing her skills but, above all, to be of assistance to society.
She is always looking for improvement and therefore she participates in numerous training/courses to develop both personal and professional skills.