Five AcademiaNet members achieve lifetime EMBO Membership

3.9.2020 | Chosen for their outstanding achievements in the life sciences, the women join the likes of Nobel Prize winners, Dorothy Hodgkin and Ada Yonath.
Bild vergrößern
(© unsplash / Christian Fregnan)

Each year the European Molecular Biology Organization, known as EMBO, selects a number of excellent life scientists to join its ranks as lifetime Members. This year, five AcademiaNet members have been given that honour: Dr. Maria Dolores Martin-Bermudo, Prof. Ana Martin-Villalba, Prof. Uta Paszkowski, Prof. Katja Sträßer and Dr. Danijela Matic Vignjevic. “The new Members have contributed to the success of research in the life sciences in Europe and around the world,” the EMBO Director, fellow AcademiaNet member, Prof. Maria Leptin, explained in a press release.

Dr. Martin-Bermudo, who is based at the Andalusian Center for Development Biology at the University of Pablo de Olavide in Sevilla, Spain, studies the forces exerted by cells and the extracellular matrix. She is particularly interested in how these forces regulate cell migration and cell shape in fruit flies. During her career, she has spent time at both the University of Cambridge in the UK and the Severo Ochoa Molecular Biology Center in Madrid, Spain. In 2002, she was made an EMBO Young Investigator.

Neurobiologist Prof. Martin-Villalba focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in how adult brain stem cells are activated, and how this links to plasticity and brain self-repair. She hopes the knowledge she accumulates will allow new regenerative therapies for brain patients to be developed. She is based at the Division of Molecular Neurobiology at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, Germany.

Prof. Paszkowski is based at the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Cambridge, UK. Her work combines molecular genetics and advanced imaging to elucidate the symbiotic relationship between the roots of land plants and fungi. On the back of these studies, she and her group have suggested new methods for communication between the two organisms.

In Prof. Sträßer’s laboratory, her group attempts to understand genome expression and maintenance in eukaryotes by studying the individual steps, such as transcription, and how they achieve efficiency and accuracy. Prof. Sträßer is based at the Institute of Biochemistry at the Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany. She has previously been based at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany, and been part of the EMBO Young Investigator program.

Finally, Dr. Vignjevic is based at the Institut Curie in Paris, France, where she leads a group dedicated to understanding how epithelial cells interact with their microenvironment during migration, using the gut as a model system. The long-term goal is to pin down the mechanism by which cancer cells migrate during metastasis. She has previously been based at the University of Belgrade in Serbia, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Northwestern University in the US.

The five AcademiaNet members are honoured as part of a cohort of 63 leading scientists, participating in an EMBO tradition going back to 1963.   (© AcademiaNet)

More information



  1. Read what our members say about AcademiaNet.

Follow us

No more excuses!

  1. Please download the brochure "No more excuses" and read more about female experts in Europe, and about AcademiaNet.


  1. Françoise Combes awarded the 2020 CNRS Gold Medal

    The expert in galaxy evolution is honoured with the highest research award in France.

  2. On the significance of cortisol: Insights from Prof. Nina Henriette Uhlenhaut

    The numbers of Covid-19 cases are increasing worldwide. But in comparison to the beginning of the pandemic we are not completely clueless anymore—first treatment options for some of the most severely ill have emerged and surprisingly one of the drug candidates is an old friend: steroids in the form of Dexamethasone. We spoke with Professor Nina Henriette Uhlenhaut from the Technical University Munich and the Helmholtz Center in Munich, Germany, who researches what these steroids do in the body and why they have so many side-effects.

  3. Riitta Hari receives Finnish Academy of Sciences Honorary Prize

    The physician and brain researcher was recognised for her life’s work.

  4. Five AcademiaNet members achieve lifetime EMBO Membership

    Chosen for their outstanding achievements in the life sciences, the women join the likes of Nobel Prize winners, Dorothy Hodgkin and Ada Yonath.

  5. Archaeology has to change: Prof. Natascha Mehler and the Hanseatic League

    When thinking of the Hanseatic League what comes to mind usually are the iconic buildings in the Hanseatic cities in Germany and along the Baltic Sea. But only few people know that the Hanseatic League also went to a different region: the North Atlantic and the Northern islands. Prof. Natascha Mehler from the University of Tuebingen focuses on this rather unique aspect of the Hanseatic League in her research. We spoke with her about her newest project and the situation of women in academic archaeology.