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New EMBO Young Investigators

Four AcademiaNet members among selected researchers

19. 11. 2014 | EMBO announced the selection of 27 researchers as EMBO Young Investigators, and four of them are members of our database. The scientists join a network of 342 current and past Young Investigators who represent some of the best young group leaders contributing to research in Europe and beyond.
"The status of EMBO Young Investigator helps researchers under the age of 40 build their first independent teams and achieve a level of recognition that offers immediate benefits," says Gerlind Wallon, manager of the Young Investigator Programme. "The networking activities provide an additional layer of support for the young researchers." The programme received 202 applications this year. 13 percent of these candidates were selected; the new investigators originate from 11 countries.

The Young Investigator Programme provides support for researchers who have established their first laboratories in the past four years. The researchers receive a range of benefits, including an award of 15,000 Euros and the opportunity to apply for additional funds to help start their first independent research laboratories. Laboratory management and non-scientific skills training as well as PhD courses offer the young group leaders and their students the chance to develop professional skills. The scientists also receive access to core facilities at EMBL, and funding for themselves and their group members to attend conferences.

Dr. Claudine Kraft
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Dr. Claudine Kraft
Dr. Claudine Kraft studies the regulation and signalling in autophagy at the Max F. Perutz Laboratories in Vienna, Austria. Autophagy is the process where the cell digests its own components. In doing so, the cell does not only provides nutrients to maintain vital cellular functions, for instance during fasting, but can also rid the cell of superfluous or damaged organelles, misfolded proteins, or invading microorganisms. Autophagy is pivotal for cell survival under stress conditions and plays an important role in several human diseases including neurodegeneration and cancer.

Dr. Kristin Teßmar-Raible
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Dr. Kristin Teßmar-Raible
Dr. Kristin Teßmar-Raible's main research interest is to investigate how solar and lunar light are sensed by the nervous system, and how this light information impacts on animals' endogenous clocks. Her team at the Max F. Perutz Laboratories aims to decipher the neuron types and molecules underlying fundamental, yet unexplored monthly oscillators - so-called circalunar clocks. The researchers use the bristle worm Platynereis dumerilii and the midge Clunio marinus. Her team also works with medaka fish and zebrafish, to study these processes in vertebrate brains as well.

Dr. Maria Teresa Teixeira
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Dr. Maria Teresa Teixeira
Dr. Maria Teresa Teixeira studies telomeres at the Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Biology of Eukaryotes (IBPC) in Paris. The chromosomes of eukaryotes end with telomeres. Because the DNA replication machinery has difficulties to fully duplicate DNA ends, telomeres provide a mechanism to ensure the integrity of the genome. Since telomeres get shorter during each cell division, they are 'molecular clocks' for the counting of generations. Telomere alterations are found in human diseases like cancer and ageing syndromes. In Teixeira's team, the researchers try to understand how these mechanisms have evolved and how they function on a molecular level, mostly using the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model organism.

Dr. Lori Passmore
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Dr. Lori Passmore
Dr. Lori Passmore studies complex multi-protein structures at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge. She uses yeast as a model organism for eukaryotes. Her focus is on messenger RNA, or mRNA, specifically on so-called poly(A) tails that are important for the stability of the mRNA, and regulate their translation. In short, they act to fine tune gene expression. For example, a shortened poly(A) tail can repress translation of the mRNA or cause mRNA to decay. Poly(A) tails are added to mRNA or removed by specific protein complexes - Passmore's team studies these complexes.

EMBO is an organization of more than 1700 leading researchers that promotes excellence in the life sciences. The major goals of the organization 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.   (© EMBO, AcademiaNet)
Yvonne Kaul, Susanne Dambeck

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