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Professor Anna Philpott elected member of EMBO

Dr. Anna Philpott of the University of Cambridge elected to membership of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) for 2020.

Dr. Philpott characterises mechanisms that control the ability of cells to respond to cell fate challenges. Her lab explores mechanisms that co-ordinate cell cycling with stem cell maintenance and differentiation during development, homeostasis and disease. Her research uncovered a conserved regulatory mechanism where cdk-dependent phosphorylation of multiple proneural proteins promotes maintenance of progenitor/stem status, while dephosphorylation drives differentiation. 

Her future aims are three-fold: to explore how distinct fate-specifying transcription factors induce different responses at different developmental stages at the embryo, tissue and single cell level; to further characterise the molecular mechanisms that link cell cycling and differentiation; to investigate perturbation of the balance between stem-ness/progenitor maintenance and differentiation that is a frequent hallmark of multiple cancers, focussing on molecular regulation of proliferation and differentiation in neuroblastoma, with the aim of developing new therapeutic strategies.

EMBO announces newest elected members

Heidelberg, 7 July 2020 - EMBO has bestowed upon 63 leading scientists the lifetime honour of EMBO Membership in recognition of their remarkable achievements in the life sciences, it was announced today.

“The new Members have contributed to the success of research in the life sciences in Europe and around the world,” said EMBO Director Maria Leptin. “As EMBO Members they can help to shape the future through EMBO’s work to support talented researchers, bring ideas together, and promote an international research environment conducive to excellent science.”

EMBO Members actively participate in EMBO initiatives, for example by serving on EMBO Council and committees, by mentoring young scientists, or supporting activities such as the promotion of sound science policy. Members also guide and support the organisation in ensuring the highest quality in the selection of future members, postdoctoral fellows, and courses and workshops.

The 52 new EMBO Members reside in 18 Member States of the European Molecular Biology Conference (EMBC), EMBO’s intergovernmental funding body. The 11 new Associate Members are currently based in Australia, Canada, Chile, India, Japan, Singapore, and the United States. The new Members carry out research across a broad range of life science disciplines, including neuroscience, plant biology, cell biology, signal transduction, development, molecular medicine, immunology, and many more.

EMBO’s tradition of recognising outstanding life scientists as Members dates back to 1963, when an initial group of 150 Members were selected by EMBO’s Council. Since then, EMBO Members have been invited to nominate and elect exceptional researchers to join the community, which now exceeds 1,800 Members and Associate Members. Elections for EMBO Members are held annually. The new EMBO Members join a growing list of renowned researchers elected before them, which includes 88 Nobel laureates.

An online directory listing all EMBO Members, their affiliations and areas of expertise is available at

Selected statistics

63 researchers have been elected to the EMBO Membership – 52 Members and 11 Associate Members

Newly elected Members are based in 25 different countries

44% of new Members are women

Last Updated: 2020-07-21