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8 July, 2020 - 10:30 By Tony Quested

Eight Cambridge researchers join European molecular biology pantheon

Eight Cambridge researchers – six from the University of Cambridge and two from the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology – are among 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 and the hall of fame includes 88 Nobel Laureates. It is an international organisation of life scientists, which has more than 1800 members elected by peers.

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.

Here’s a rundown on the Cambridge eight:

Bertie Göttgens is Professor of Molecular Haematology, deputy director of the Wellcome MRC Stem Cell Institute and a member of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre Haematological Malignancies Programme. 
His research group studies how transcription factor networks control the function of blood stem cells, and how mutations that perturb these networks cause leukaemia.

Professor Kathryn Lilley is 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. Her research aims to interrogate how the functional proteome correlates with complexity. 

Dr Serena Nik-Zainal is 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.

Giles Oldroyd is 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.  

Uta Paszkowski is 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.

Anna Philpott is head of the School of Biological Sciences, Professor of Cancer and Developmental Biology, and member of the CRUK Cambridge Centre Paediatric Cancer Programme. Her 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.  

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

Dr Marta Zlatic is 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. 

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