Scientific Advisory Committee


Council establishes the Scientific Advisory Committee, which gives advice to Council, in particular with regard to proposals from the Director General on the realisation of the programme of the Laboratory.

SAC is composed of distinguished scientists appointed in their own right, not as representatives of member states. Membership of the committee is drawn from scientists in a wide range of relevant fields of science in order to cover as far as possible both the field of molecular biology and other appropriate scientific disciplines.

After due consultation with, in particular the EMBO Council and appropriate national institutions, the Director General and the Chair of EMBO Council propose to the Council a list of candidates which the Council considers in appointing the members of SAC.

SAC members

Brenda Andrews (Membership term 2019-2021)
Director of the Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research and Professor of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto (CA)
Research: analysis of genetic interaction networks in budding yeast and mammalian cells, high through-put genetics platforms, high content microscopy for systematic analysis of cell biological phenotypes.

Irene Bozzoni (Membership 2020-2022)
Full Professor of Molecular Biology, Sapienza Universtity of Rome (IT) and Senior Researcher at the Italian Institute of Technology (IT)
Research: Post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression; role on non coding RNAs in cell differentiation and development; neuromuscular diseases.

James Briscoe (Membership 2018-2020, 2021-2023)
Senior Group Leader at the Developmental Dynamics Laboratory, Francis Crick Institute (UK)
Research: Studies how the central nervous system (CNS) is formed in embryos, with the goal of identifying the genes involved in spinal cord development and determine how they work to produce and organize different types of nerve cells.

Elena Conti (Membership 2017-2019, 2020-2022)
Director, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (DE)
Research: RNA surveillance and degradation, translational control, biochemistry, X-ray crystallography, cryo-electron microscopy.

Susan Gasser (Membership 2016-2018, 2019-2021)
Director, Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Basel (CH), Professor of Molecular Biology, University of Basel (CH)
Reseach: Focuses on the mechanisms that spatially organize and silence heterochromatin during development and the mechanisms that ensure genomic stability during replication and repair of the genome, primarily pursued in yeast.

Kai Johnsson (Membership 2016-2018, 2019-2021)
Director at the Department of Chemical Biology, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research (DE)
Research: Development and application of chemical approaches to study and manipulate protein function.

Frank Jülicher
Director, Max-Planck-Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Dresden, Germany

Jan Löwe (Membership 2017-2019, 2020-2022)
Group Leader, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (UK)
Research: Prokaryotic Cell Biology. His group investigates with fluorescence light microscopy and electron cryotomography, with electron cryomicroscopy and X-ray crystallography.

Edward Marcotte (Membership 2016-2018, 2019-2021)
Vice Chair of EMBL Scientific Advisory CommitteeProfessor of Biochemistry, Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Texas (US)
Research: Studies the large-scale organization of proteins, trying to reconstruct the ‘wiring diagrams’ of cells by learning how all of the proteins encoded by a genome are associated into functional pathways, systems, and networks.

Poul Nissen (Membership 2017-2019, 2020-2022)
Professor and scientific director - Danish Research Institute of Translational Neuroscience (DANDRITE), Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University (DK)
Research: Investigates mechanisms of membrane transporters and systems involved with neurological and psychiatric disorders, using different methods such as cryo-electron microscopy and X-ray crystallography.

Paul Nurse (Membership 2016-2018, 2019-2021)
Chair of EMBL Scientific Advisory Committee Director and Chief Executive, The Francis Crick Institute (UK)
Research: global cellular networks which regulate the eukaryotic cell cycle, cell form and cell growth.

Dana Pe’er (Membership 2018-2020, 2021-2023)
Scientific Director, GMTEC; Chair, Computational and Systems Biology Program, Sloan Kettering Institute, New York (US)
Research: Single cell technologies, genomic datasets and machine learning techniques to address fundamental questions including regulatory cell circuits, cellular development, tumor immune eco-system, genotype to phenotype relations and precision medicine.

Jan-Michael Peters (Membership 2018-2020, 2021-2023)
Scientific Director, Research Institute of Molecular Pathology, Vienna (AT)
Research: Mitosis and chromosome biology, chromosome organization, chromosome segregation and cell division, proteins involved in the chromosome segregation during mitosis.

Félix Rey (Membership 2019-2021)
Head of Structural Virology Unit, Institut Pasteur, Paris (FR)
Research: Structural virology, functional studies of RNA-dependent RNA polymerases and associated replication enzymes, viral capsids and nucleocapsids, cryo-microscopy, crystallography.

Fabian Theis (Membership 2020-2022)
Head of Institute Helmholtz Zentrum München, Institute of Computational Biology (DE)
Research: Find hidden patterns in biomedical data sets and use those to predict and understand future behavior of these systems. For this together, with his team, he develops and adapts methods from machine learning as well as from dynamic modeling, and apply them to molecular read outs, in particular in single cell genomics and microscopy. With their experimental partners, he thus solves complex biological and medical questions such as stem cell decision making or risk prediction in systems medicine.

Bas Van Steensel (Membership 2019-2021)
Research Group Leader at Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) and Adjunct Professor at Erasmus University Medical Center (NL)
Research: Chromatin genomics, gene regulation, chromatin systems biology, bioinformatics.

Fiona Watt (Membership 2016-2018, 2019-2021)
Director, Centre for Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine, King’s College London, Executive Chair of the MRC (UK)
Research: Intrinsic and extrinsic control of stem cell fate, the role of stem cells in adult tissue maintenance, epidermal tumors, and oncogenic mutations.

Mihaela Zavolan (Membership 2018-2020, 2021-2023)
Professor, Biozentrum of the University of Basel (CH)
Research: Investigates which regulators of gene expression are crucial for establishing and maintaining cell identity, looks into gene expression regulatory programs with the help of high-throughput sequencing technologies.





EMBL is an inter-governmental organisation with 27 member states, one associate member and two prospect members that is led by the Director General, Prof. Edith Heard, appointed by the EMBL Council.