Eight Cambridge researchers elected as members of European Molecular Biology Organisation

Eight Cambridge researchers – six from the University of Cambridge and two from the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology – are among the 63 scientists from around the world elected this year as Members and Associate Members of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO).

EMBO Membership honours distinguished scientists who have made outstanding contributions to the life sciences, including 88 Nobel Laureates. It is an international organisation of life scientists, which has more than 1800 members elected by peers.

The newly elected Cambridge researchers are:

Professor Bertie Göttgens, Professor of Molecular Haematology, Deputy Director of the Wellcome MRC Stem Cell Institute, and a member of the Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Cambridge Centre Haematological Malignancies Programme. Bertie’s research group studies how transcription factor networks control the function of blood stem cells, and how mutations that perturb these networks cause leukaemia.

Göttgens said:”This honour is very much a reflection of the dedicated work and collective effort of all members of my research group over the years. Rather fittingly, I kick-started my independent career with a paper in an EMBO Journal. Becoming an EMBO member therefore represents a very special milestone to me.”

Professor Kathryn Lilley, Director of the Cambridge Centre for Proteomics, Department of Biochemistry, Milner Therapeutics Institute, and a member of the CRUK Cambridge Centre Cell and Molecular Biology Programme. Kathryn’s research aims to interrogate how the functional proteome correlates with complexity.

Lilley said: “I feel extremely honoured to have been elected as a member of EMBO by my peers, which also recognizes the efforts and achievements on my fabulous research group members and numerous collaborators both past and present.”

Dr Serena Nik-Zainal, a CRUK Advanced Clinician Scientist at the University’s MRC Cancer Unit, and Honorary Consultant in Clinical Genetics at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. Serena’s research combines computational and experimental approaches to understand cellular changes and mutational processes that lead to cancer and age-related disorders.

Nik-Zainal said: “It’s a great honour to become a member of EMBO, opening up opportunities for exploring new interactions with colleagues through Europe and around the world.”

Professor Giles Oldroyd FRS, Russell R Geiger Professor of Crop Science at the Sainsbury Laboratory and Director of the Crop Science Centre. Giles is leading an international programme of research that attempts to achieve more equitable and sustainable agriculture through the enhanced use of beneficial microbial associations.

Oldroyd said: “I have long admired the work that EMBO does to strengthen and coordinate science across Europe and it is an honour to now be a part of this prestigious European fellowship of biologists.”

Professor Uta Paszkowski, Professor of Plant Molecular Genetics at the Department of Plant Sciences. Uta leads the Cereal Symbiosis Group, which investigates the molecular mechanisms underlying formation and functioning of arbuscular mycorrhizal symbioses (beneficial interactions between roots of land plants and soil fungi) in rice and maize.

Paszkowski said: “Across the organisations supporting the Life Sciences, EMBO stands out by its varied activities to advance science through facilitating knowledge exchange and career development. I am immensely honoured to be elected as a member.”

Professor Anna Philpott, Head of the School of Biological Sciences, Professor of Cancer and Developmental Biology, and member of the CRUK Cambridge Centre Paediatric Cancer Programme. Anna’s research group at the Wellcome-MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute studies the balance between proliferation and differentiation during development and cancer, using a range of models.

Philpott said: “I am delighted to be invited to join an organisation that has done so much for European science.”

Dr Chris Tate, research leader at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology. The research in Chris’ lab focusses on understanding the structure and function of the major cell-surface receptors in humans that are targeted by 34% of marketed small molecule drugs.

Tate said: “The election to EMBO Membership is a great honour and will enhance my interactions with the superb scientists throughout Europe. The strength of the scientific community in Europe is amazing and we all benefit enormously from being a member of this family.”

Dr Marta Zlatic, research leader at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology. Marta’s lab combines connectomics with physiology and behavioural analysis, in the tractable Drosophila larval model system, to discover the fundamental principles by which brains generate behaviour.

Zlatic said: “I feel extremely honoured and grateful that our research is being recognized in this way.”

EMBO Members can actively participate in EMBO’s initiatives by serving on the organisation’s Council, committees and editorial boards, participating in the evaluation of applications for EMBO funding, acting as mentors to young scientists in the EMBO community, and advising on key activities. EMBO’s administrative headquarters are in Heidelberg, Germany.

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