Crick celebrates new EMBO members

Markus Ralser (left) and Ilaria Malanchi (right).

Markus Ralser (left) and Ilaria Malanchi (right)

Crick group leaders Ilaria Malanchi and Markus Ralser, as well as satellite group leader Corinne Houart, have been elected as new members of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO). 

EMBO promotes excellence in the life sciences by supporting talented researchers, stimulating knowledge sharing and building a research environment where scientists can achieve their best work. 

Its membership is made up of more than 1,800 leading researchers and new members are elected annually in recognition of their contributions to science. Members help to guide organisation programmes and activities, influencing the direction of European science and strengthening research communities. 

Ilaria Malanchi, group leader of the Tumour-Host Interaction Laboratory, studies the interactions between tumours and healthy tissue. Her lab is investigating the strategy used by cancer cells to reach other parts of the body, change the tissue and allow secondary tumours to form. 

She says: “It’s a real honour for our work to be recognised by EMBO. Cancer cannot spread without the co-operation and corruption of cells in other parts of the body and if we can understand this process we can find ways to stop it. This could lead to the development of new, more effective cancer therapies which are urgently needed.”

The election of Markus Ralser, head of the Department of Biochemistry at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and who also works part-time at the Crick as the head of the Molecular Biology of Metabolism Laboratory, comes a year after he was awarded an EMBO Gold Model for his work studying the origins, evolution and function of cell metabolism.

During the pandemic, Markus’ team has also been working on COVID-19, developing a technique to identify proteins in the blood of COVID-19 patients and finding biomarkers that could be used to predict whether a patient is likely to become severely ill.

“Being based at the Crick in London and Charité in Berlin, I experience first-hand the value of a collaborative international science sector which encourages scientists to work together and share expertise. I’m excited to become an EMBO member and to support their work within the life sciences,” says Markus. 

Corinne Houart leads a group at King’s College London and a satellite team at the Crick. Her team focuses on two research directions: the cellular and molecular mechanisms controlling the early organisation of the brain and their dysfunctions in neurodevelopmental disorders; and the local roles of splicing factors and intron-retaining mRNAs in the formation of neuronal connectivity and their involvement in neurodegeneration. 

Her Crick satellite aims to identify the evolutionary variations in early signalling, generating diversity in brain size and complexity from fish to human.

Corinne explains, “It is an honour to join the EMBO membership, a recognition of the work done by a team of wonderful scientists in my lab over the years. We drive our research in a collaborative and international spirit. Our satellite lab at the Crick epitomises such taste for collaboration and transfer of knowledge between institutions. I am looking forward to support the EMBO activities and excited to further strengthen research ties between developmental biologists and neuroscientists.”

Paul Nurse, director of the Crick, adds: “It is fantastic to have new EMBO members with connections to the Crick. Congratulations to Ilaria, Markus and Corinne for this well-deserved honour in recognition of their scientific excellence. EMBO does valuable work, helping researchers build networks and communities across borders in Europe and around the world. These international research links, and the sharing of knowledge and expertise that comes with them, are crucial to help scientists carry out research which will improve global health and find new or better ways to treat disease.” 

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