Cornelius Gross, Miki Ebisuya, and Nassos Typas join the prestigious life sciences organisation
The European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) awards membership to exceptional scientists every year. EMBO’s major goals are to support talented researchers at all stages of their careers, stimulate the exchange of scientific information, and help build a European research environment where scientists can achieve their best work.
For 2022, Miki Ebisuya, Group Leader at EMBL Barcelona, Cornelius Gross, Interim Head of EMBL Rome and Nassos Typas, Group Leader and Senior Scientist at EMBL Heidelberg, have been recognised by their peers and awarded membership to the organisation. EMBL alumni Friedrich Frischknecht (University of Heidelberg), Edward Lemke (Institute of Molecular Biology), Marina Mapelli (European Institute of Oncology), and Giuseppe Testa (Università degli Studi Milano), have also been elected as members. In total, 146 EMBL alumni are currently EMBO members.
EMBO funds research fellowships, courses, workshops, conferences, and science policy initiatives, and publishes several prestigious journals. “It’s an honour to be elected as an EMBO member and to join this select group of accomplished life scientists,” said Nassos Typas, who highlighted the importance of the organisation’s support in his career. “I have been a beneficiary of EMBO’s actions to empower young scientists in several occasions, and now I very much look forward to giving back to the community by helping EMBO accomplish its missions.”
Inter-species differences, human behaviour, and bacterial interactions
The three EMBL scientists elected to EMBO membership work in very diverse areas: from comparing early development across species, to studying human behaviour, to analysing bacterial interactions with the environment.
Miki Ebisuya’s group is interested in comparing the differences and similarities in development among species. Human development is, in general, slower than mouse development. To understand such timing differences, the Ebisuya group has focused on studying the segmentation clock, which is an oscillatory pattern of gene expression that regulates the speed of somite formation during the very early stages of development.
“I knew about EMBO even when I was in Japan – it’s a nice way of networking and organising for scientists,” said Ebisuya. “I’m honoured to be a new EMBO member and grateful for the lab members and colleagues.”
The Gross group studies instinctive fear-related behaviour. Fear is a mental state caused by exposure to threats or cues that signal those threats. It promotes defensive behaviours, driven by decision-making capacities that help us avoid harm and that are critical to survival. However, fear in a pathological form can trigger a wide variety of mental disorders. The goal of the Gross group is to understand, at a molecular and circuit level, the neural control of fear-related behaviour.
“EMBO has been at the forefront of shaping global scientific best practice and policy in the life sciences for decades. I am extremely proud to be able to contribute to this group to push the boundaries of how we do science,” said Gross.
The Typas group works to understand bacteria and their interactions with the environment, other bacteria, the host, and phages. Their biological focus is on the bacterial cell envelope – which is a complex multi-layered structure that serves to sense and protect these organisms from their fluctuating environments. To do so, they are developing high-throughput, multi-readout, automated approaches to quantitatively assess gene-gene, gene-drug, and drug-drug interactions in many different bacteria and the communities they live in.
Gross, Ebisuya and Typas join an organisation of more than 1,900 international scientists, including 90 Nobel Laureates who hold, or have held, EMBO membership.