Issue 101

Online Magazine of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory

Awards and honours (Issue 101)

The work and excellence of EMBL researchers have been recognised with multiple awards and honours during the past six months.

Decorative elements on a green background, representing awards.

Three EMBL predocs, Constantin Ahlmann-Eltze in the Huber Group at EMBL Heidelberg, Charlie Barker in the Petsalaki Group at EMBL-EBI, and Sora Matsumoto in the Saka Group at EMBL Heidelberg were invited to participate in the 72nd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in June 2023. Joining them wereare two alumni, Vlad Bondarenko, Predoctoral Fellow in the former Hiiragi Group and Jonas Tholen, Postdoctoral Fellow of the Galej Group, who were accepted to the conference when still at EMBL. Once every year, Nobel Laureates convene in Lindau to meet the next generation of leading scientists all over the world, for an exchange of knowledge, ideas, and experience. The young scientists remain permanent members of the Lindau Alumni Network and ambassadors for scientific dialogue.

Constantin Ahlmann-Eltze, Predoctoral Fellow in the Huber Group at EMBL Heidelberg, and Simone Bell, Senior Project Manager in the Huber Group, have each received a Bioconductor Community Award from the Bioconductor Project. The project aims to develop, support, and disseminate free open-source software that facilitates rigorous and reproducible analysis of data from biological assays. Four awardees are selected each year to honour outstanding contributions to the project. 

Silvia Colucci, currently a postdoc in the Hentze Group and former PhD student in the Muckenthaler/Hentze MMPU group, has been awarded the Ruprecht-Karls-Preis for the faculty of Bioscience at Heidelberg University for her PhD thesis in 2022. Given by the Heidelberg University Foundation, this award recognises exceptional scientific work from all subject areas and honours five dissertations each year. 

Mohannad Dardiry, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Ikmi Group at EMBL Heidelberg, has been awarded the PhD prize of the Reinhold and Maria Teufel Foundation. To support the development of budding young scientists, the prize recognises top achievements in dissertation research. 

Jan Ellenberg, Head of CBB/Head of EIC, and Janet Thornton, Group Leader and Senior Scientist, have both received honorary doctorates from Stockholm University, in recognition of their research achievements and roles in setting up ELIXIR Europe and Euro-BioImaging ERIC, two key infrastructures for the life sciences.

Anne Ephrussi, EMBL Senior Scientist and Director of EMBL’s International Centre for Advanced Training, has been elected as one of the 150 new members of the US National Academy of Sciences. This distinction recognises her significant and continuing achievements in original research.

Eileen Furlong, Head of Genome Biology Unit and Senior Scientist, is the recipient of the 2023 UCD Alumni Award in Research, Innovation and Impact, awarded by the University College Dublin. The award celebrates her groundbreaking research and recognises her societal contributions. 

Elyas Heidari, who was an intern in the Marioni group at EMBL-EBI between April 2021 and April 2022, working on his Master’s research project, has been awarded the ETH medal for the best Master’s thesis in the department of Biological Science and Systems Engineering of ETH Zurich.

Henning Hermjakob, Head of Molecular Systems at EMBL-EBI, has been awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the Human Proteome Organisation, in recognition of him being an exemplary member of the proteomic research community, one whose dedicated service has made indispensable contributions to the organisation and its mission. 

Wolfgang Huber, Julia Mahamid, and Oliver Stegle, who all lead research groups at EMBL Heidelberg, are among 69 life scientists elected to membership of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). It is a lifelong honour that allows elected scientists to serve on EMBO’s council and committees, evaluate applications for EMBO funding, and act as mentors to young scientists. 

Julia Mahamid has also received the EMBO Gold Medal 2023. Each year, EMBO recognises a young scientist for outstanding contributions to the life sciences in Europe. Mahamid has been awarded with this distinction for her exceptional achievements in structural cell biology and developing powerful techniques that visualise cellular machinery in situ.

Sandra Orchard, Team Leader for Protein Function Content, is one of the two recipients of the 2023 Exceptional Contribution to Biocuration Award from the International Society for Biocuration, in recognition of her impact on and significant work for the biocuration community. 

Georgia Rapti, Group Leader at EMBL Heidelberg, has been selected as a 2023 FENS-Kavli Scholar by the Kavli Foundation. The multidisciplinary, international network of FENS-Kavli Scholars is a group of early-career, independent neuroscience investigators, chosen for their scientific excellence, originality, and leadership. It aims to improve neuroscience in Europe and beyond through scientific exchange, advocacy, and outreach. 

Mikhail Savitski, Team Leader and Head of the Proteomics Core Facility at EMBL Heidelberg, has received the EuPA Breakthrough in Proteomics Award from the European Proteomics Association. The association presents the award annually for a breakthrough in proteomics, a discovery that transformed the knowledge frontier and has a major impact on science, technology and society.

EMBL has been awarded the German AI prize in the ‘user’ category for varied activities in applying artificial intelligence (AI) to life science research, from the AlphaFold Protein Structure Database and image analysis to omics and technology development. The prize by WELT recognises outstanding services to AI research and development as well as application and commercialisation, and the recipients were honoured at an award ceremony in Berlin in September.

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