09 July 2024

Four Researchers in Portugal Elected as EMBO Members

The European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), which celebrates this year its 60th anniversary, has announced today that it will award the lifetime honour of EMBO Membership to four researchers based in Portugal in recognition of the excellence of their research and outstanding achievements in the life sciences. EMBO is an international organisation of more than 2,000 life scientists in Europe and around the world, committed to building a European research environment where scientists can achieve their best work.

Four Researchers in Portugal Elected as EMBO Members

Now, Megan Carey from the Champalimaud Foundation (CF), Mónica Sousa from the Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde (i3S), Ricardo Henriques from the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC), and Rui Oliveira from IGC and the Instituto Universitário de Ciências Psicológicas Sociais e da Vida (ISPA), become EMBO Members and join this group of outstanding researchers. Apart from them, 96 other EMBO Members and 20 associate members have been elected this year.

Megan Carey, from CF, remarked: “I am thrilled to be elected as a member of EMBO, an organisation I have admired for many years for its important work in promoting the life sciences—and scientists—across Europe. I am sincerely grateful to the current members for supporting my nomination, and I am honoured to have the opportunity to join them. I look forward to contributing to EMBO's mission of building strong research communities”.

Mónica Sousa, from i3S, commented: “It is a great honour to be elected as an EMBO member. I feel humbled to be part of a group of outstanding scientists, some of whom have inspired and mentored my career and the work of my group. I am thankful for the way in which they complemented our conceptual and methodological expertise, enriched the breadth of our work, and for their encouragement and recognition. I now hope to honour their example by supporting the career of my junior colleagues.”

Ricardo Henriques, from IGC, stated: “Being elected as a member of EMBO is a tremendous honour and a testament to my entire research team's hard work, dedication, and innovative spirit. EMBO is well-known for promoting excellence in the life sciences, and being recognised by such a prestigious organisation is a humbling experience. This recognition validates our past achievements and motivates us to continue pushing the boundaries of imaging technology and biological research.

As an EMBO member, I will have the opportunity to collaborate with some of the brightest minds in molecular biology, exchange ideas, and contribute to shaping the future direction of life science research in Europe and beyond. This recognition also highlights the importance of interdisciplinary research, as our work at the intersection of physics, biology, and technology demonstrates the power of combining expertise from diverse fields to address complex scientific challenges. I am deeply grateful for this honour and look forward to actively engaging with the EMBO community to advance our shared mission of solving the mysteries of life.”

Rui Oliveira, from IGC and ISPA, reflected: “It is an honour to become an EMBO member and to be part of such a vibrant community that is spearheading the development of the Life Sciences in Europe. More than a recognition for my own work, I see this election as the recognition of the role of behavioural studies in modern Biology.

Behaviour is a very peculiar phenotype. It is ephemeral and there’s no biological tissue to measure it directly from. Thus, behaviour is usually grounded in the brain, which raises a dual coding problem: genes encode brain structure and functioning through gene regulatory networks, whereas brains encode behaviour through neuronal electrochemical signalling. Moreover, the brain is a highly heterogeneous and complex organ. The first problem was overcome with the finding that neuronal firing is paralleled by changes in brain gene expression, linking genes, brain and behaviour. The second problem can now be addressed with recent developments in single-cell and spatial transcriptomics, which will allow us to ground gene-behaviour relationships in specific neural networks with cellular resolution. The time is now right to better handle the causal link from genotype to behavioural phenotypes, and I see my election to EMBO as a recognition of the recent breakthroughs in this field.”

About the EMBO Membership:

EMBO’s long tradition of recognising outstanding researchers dates back to 1963, when it selected an initial group of 150 members that has grown through annual elections ever since. As EMBO Members, these researchers play an active role in EMBO initiatives, such as participating in the EMBO Council and committees, evaluating new applications, mentoring young scientists, or joining the editorial boards of EMBO Press journals. Through these activities, EMBO Members help to strengthen the research communities in Europe and beyond, shaping the direction of research in the life sciences.

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