Yves Barral

Yves Barral has been Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at the ETH Zurich since August 1999 and Associate Professor since October 2005. Prof. Barral, whose parents are French, was born in Mexico on 7th December 1966. At the age of two he returned to France with his parents and grew up in Dieppe (Normandy) and Lyon. Prof. Barral studied Genetics and Biochemistry at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, and completed his diploma work in Microbiology at The Pasteur Institute in 1989. Prof. Barral then started his Ph.D. studies on the genetic analysis of cell cycle control which he carried out at both the Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique (Saclay, France) and the Friedrich-​Miescher Laboratory of the Max-​Planck Institute (Tübingen, Germany). In December 1994 Prof. Barral obtained his Ph.D. from the Pierre und Marie Curie University in Paris. He then went on to work as a postdoctoral fellow and postdoctoral associate in the Department of Biology, Yale University (New Haven, USA) up until July 1999, focussing on the regulation of cellular morphogenese during cell division. At the ETH Prof. Barral is working on the coordination of the cytoskeleton and the cell cycle in yeast. He is also developing new genetic techniques to address related issues in the multicellular Nematode C.elegans.

He’s working on problems such as how septins help cells compartmentalize themselves in yeast when they divide; how they designate inheritance of cell contents; and what these activities have to do with aging. Yeast can even teach us about learning and memory, as we discovered when we read his work.