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New members greeted in Heidelberg


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Heidelberg, 19 December 2018 – In May this year 62 life scientists were elected as EMBO Members and Associate Members, joining a group of more than 1,800 outstanding life scientists. Between 24 and 26 October, they met in Heidelberg, Germany to discuss their science, meet each other and EMBO representatives and find out more about the organization’s activities. 


“EMBO Members are leading scientists working across all of the life sciences. They strengthen the research community in Europe and beyond through their international collaborations and connections,” said EMBO Director Maria Leptin. The annual Members’ Meeting is an opportunity to welcome the new members. “These three days are packed with science at its best,” she explained.


The EMBO Members are actively involved in the execution of the organization’s initiatives by serving on EMBO Council, Committees and Editorial Boards, by evaluating applications for EMBO funding, by mentoring young scientists and by providing suggestions and feedback on activities. 


Here, we introduce three of them, and hear what being part of the EMBO Membership means to them. 


New EMBO Member: Ewa Paluch


The main focus for Ewa Paluch is to understand how animal cells control their shape. She investigates how the mechanical properties of the cell cortex – a network of actin, myosin and associated proteins that lies under the plasma membrane and gives most cells their shape – are determined by its molecular components and how these properties are regulated to drive cellular deformations. Her research group combines cell biology, quantitative imaging and biophysics to investigate the regulation and mechanics of the cortical network, particularly during protrusion formation, cell migration and cell division, and the role and regulation of cortex mechanics during cell fate changes in stem cells. Ewa Paluch has been a professor at the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology at University College London since 2013. She was recently elected to the Chair of Anatomy at the University of Cambridge and will be moving her laboratory to the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience at Cambridge in 2019. 


She says about her election: “I feel very honoured to be elected as an EMBO Member; I was very excited to see several other biophysicists elected this year and I look forward to further promoting interdisciplinary approaches in biology as an EMBO Member.” 


New EMBO Associate Member: L. S. Shashidhara


Lingadahalli Subrahmanya Shashidhara uses Drosophila as a model system to answer two fundamental questions: What is the mechanism by which cells, tissues and organs are positioned in their respective places in the body? And how are shape and size of different organs determined? To address these questions, his lab studies molecular and morphogenic events downstream to Hox genes, which play critical roles in the elaboration of segmental identities in all bilateria. L. S. Shashidhara heads the Indian Institute of Science Education & Research (IISER) in Pune, India. 

He says about EMBO Membership: “I am very happy about the honour to be one among such accomplished biologists. I hope to benefit from my interactions with the EMBO community, particularly in the domains of science policy and science management practices, which enable individuals and organizations to achieve excellence in research.”


Existing Member: Csaba Pál


Csaba Pál’s research targets central issues in evolution with medical importance. He and his lab develop new methods in microbial genome engineering with the aim to study antibiotic resistance in unprecedented detail. Another focus of his group is microbial evolutionary genomics, studying the dosage-balance hypothesis, compensatory evolution and the role of phenotypic heterogeneity. Csaba Pál heads the Synthethic and Systems Biology Unit at the Biological Research Centre of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences  in Szeged.

He feels that “EMBO Membership is an amazing opportunity to foster new collaborations, to catalyze research opportunities for talented students, and to popularize our achievements to a broad audience.”