NEWS FROM THE EMBO COMMUNITY Great Ideas in Biology PAUL NURSE, President of the Royal Society and Chief Executive and Director of the Francis Crick Institute, was in Heidelberg, Germany, on 7 November to give the lecture Great Ideas in Biology. In his talk, Nurse gave a historical ac- count of some of the great ideas that have shaped contemporary thinking in bi- ology. The four ideas include the cell, the gene, natural selection, and life as chem- istry. Each example was illustrated with narratives about the work of some of the pioneers of biological inquiry. At the end of the lecture, Nurse also described an emerging fifth great idea, namely biology as an organized system that focuses on the management of information. Increasingly, scientists consider biologi- cal reactions not in linear terms but as complex networks and path- ways that better describe the interactions of the molecules of life. Stated Nurse, “Complexity moves biology to a stranger, less intuitive world.” The talk, which was open to the general public, was organized by the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, and the UniversitätsKlinikum Heidelberg. The Manfred Lautenschläger Stiftung provided financial support for the lecture. Nurse will give the keynote lecture at The EMBO Meeting 2012 in Nice 22–25 September. Mavilio appointed Scientific Director of Genethon EMBO Member FULVIO MAVILIO (1995) has been appointed Scientific Director of Genethon, the European research institution dedicated to gene therapy. Genethon is a not-for-profit organization created and funded by the Association Française contre les Myopathies, a French association that supports patients and their families, and which organizes the annual fundraising Telethon event in France. The mission of Genethon is to design gene therapy products for rare diseases and, ultimately, to make innovative treatments available to patients. “Gene therapy has been my major interest for the past twenty years, and joining Genethon is the fulfillment of my career,” says Mavilio. “This institution has been part of the European history of gene therapy since the early days of clinical research in this area. Today, Genethon is a formidable place to conceive, develop and manufacture gene therapy products.” Adds Mavilio, “I would like to bring new impulse to the science of Genethon, and make it a true European hub for clinical translation. Europe hosts the best players in the gene therapy field and I would like them to consider Genethon as the place to come to transform their ideas into thera- peutic reality.” Fulvio Mavilio joins Genethon from the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy, where he was Director of the Gene Therapy Laboratory at the Center for Regenerative Medicine, and where he will remain a part- time Professor of Molecular Biology. The ERC Advanced Investigator Grant he was awarded in 2011 to develop innovative gene correction technology for genetic diseases has been transferred to Genethon. Mavilio started his position as Scientific Director of Genethon ( in January 2012. ©2012 EMBO EMBOencounters | Winter 2011|2012 | 15 ©University of Modena and Reggio Emilia ©2011 | EMBL