Professor Eilika Weber-Ban of ETH Zurich and Professor Eleftheria Zeggini of Helmholtz Zentrum Munich have been announced as new members of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO), among 62 other exceptional life scientists. According to EMBO director and fellow AcademiaNet member Maria Leptin, “an election to the EMBO membership recognises outstanding achievements in the life sciences.”
Prof Weber-Ban has been based at the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biophysics at ETH Zurich since 2001, gaining full professorship in 2010. Her group works on protein degradation and protein quality control in mycobacteria, specifically the molecular machines that are responsible for breaking down proteins to ensure homeostasis and help the bacteria cope with environmental challenges and stress. Understanding these survival strategies is crucial because some mycobacteria are among the deadliest human pathogens, in particular mycobacterium tuberculosis which is responsible for more than 10 million infections worldwide every year.
Prof Zeggini is the founding director of the Institute of Translational Genomics at Helmholtz Zentrum Munich and holds a professorship at the Technical University of Munich. Her expertise is in genome-wide association studies of complex human traits and diseases. Specifically, she combines high-throughput genetic sequencing with population data to identify targets for new therapies and biomarkers for earlier diagnosis, with a lot of her work focusing on osteoarthritis and type 2 diabetes. One of her aims is to improve precision medicine, which takes into account the genetic and environmental variability of the individual, with a shorter path from genomic insight to clinical treatment.
EMBO currently has around 1,800 members, each of which have had to be nominated and elected by the existing membership as there is no application process. This year’s cohort included members residing in 21 different countries. 41% of the new members were women, slightly down from 44% last year. (© AcademiaNet)