Published: 2018-12-10 14:08 | Updated: 2018-12-10 14:08

Giedre Grigelioniene interviewed on her collaboration with a Nobel Prize Winner

Most researchers will never come close to winning a Nobel Prize. But some are fortunate enough to work with one of the 200 or so living Nobel legends of the research world. In the magazine Medical Science no 4 2018, there is a news article where three KI researchers are interviewed about their collaborations.

One of the researchers is Giedre Grigelioniene at the research group Rare Diseases, MMK:

The collaboration has made me do research differently

Giedre Grigelioniene, Researcher at the Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institutet
Conducts research into: Congenital skeletal and connective tissue diseases.
Link to Nobel laureate: Recently published a scientific article together with Phillip A Sharp, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1993 (together with Richard J. Roberts) for his discovery of introns in eukaryotic DNA.

Giedre Grigelioniene. Foto: Christopher Hunt

“I am a peripheral researcher in Phillip A Sharp’s network. But the connection still means a lot to me; it has opened doors and taken me down new research paths. It all started when I found a new diagnosis and a new mechanism behind a rare skeletal disease. The disease, which I discovered in a Swedish family, has not been previously described in literature. After my discovery, I went to the United States and worked at Harvard University. My group leader felt that the disease mechanism was so unique that he contacted Sharp to inquire about a collaboration with his lab at MIT. Sharp thought the discovery was very interesting and became curious to find out if the mechanism could also apply to cancer. I was completely blown away when I heard what he was thinking and the potential he saw in the first finding.

Since then, I have been working closely with his associate Hiroshi Suzuki who I was set up with. Sharp is very humble; he lets his associates handle most things while he stands aside and provides support. Sharp and I only correspond via e-mail, often with me being cc’d in. There is a strong hierarchy in the United States.

Proving new mechanisms is tricky, but Sharp has been encouraging us and tells us that we will make a difference. When you hear that from him, you know that it’s good. And it turned out that the mechanism also applies to cancer! Thanks to the great capacity of his lab, a little more than a year’s work has resulted in a finished publication and a manuscript. Even though I have only met Sharp in person once, I will be doing research differently now, thanks to this collaboration with his lab.”

Told to: Maja Lundbäck. First published in Medicinsk Vetenskap nr 4 2018

Read the article "A tale of three researchers: Nobel inspiration" in the magazine Medical Science/Medicinsk Vetenskap no 4, 2018


Deconvolution of seed and RNA-binding protein crosstalk in RNAi-based functional genomics.

Suzuki HI, Spengler RM, Grigelioniene G, Kobayashi T, Sharp PA

Nat Genet. 2018 May;50(5):657-661