5 December 2023 – Bruno Hudry was drawn to science by a fascination with the evolution of animals from sea anemones to crocodiles, zebras to humans. Yet his own research, which studies the biology underlying differences between males and females of the same species, has remained largely focused on the humble fruit fly.
“Early work into sex determination in Drosophila melanogaster came at a time before scientists had revealed the structure or nature of DNA,” says Hudry, who is a group leader at the Institute of Biology Valrose in Nice, France. “It showed how physiological differences between male and female fruit flies can be traced to observable differences in their chromosomes. The beauty and simplicity of the work was amazing: it inspired me to learn some techniques in flies before transferring these to other more evolutionary-relevant organisms. However, I became so fascinated by the power of fly genetics and biology that I could not leave them!
“Sex differences between males and females encompass much more than just the presence of sex organs: this translates to differences in physiology, such as body size and weight, differences in lifespan, and different susceptibility to diseases. The mechanisms driving these differences are still not well understood at the molecular level and my group aims to understand how the constitution of sex chromosomes impacts physiology in flies, which could help us to also understand differences better in humans.”
Hudry’s team combines biochemistry, genetics and cell biology from the cellular to organismal level. “Joining the EMBO Young Investigator Programme will enable me to meet, connect and collaborate with multidisciplinary researchers that do and know things that could be hugely beneficial to our research,” he says. “The programme emphasizes the importance of freedom, independence and connection: this is a perfect combination for new group leaders. I have been lucky enough to have been awarded several EMBO fellowships: you meet great people, have superb interactions, and new projects come out in the end. I am very happy to be a part of this incredible community.”