VIB scientists Jean-Christophe Marine, Jan Steyaert, and Alain Goossens elected as EMBO Members


EMBO is an organization that unites leading researchers in the life sciences to promotes scientific excellence. Every year, new members are selected from among Europe’s top-scientists. EMBO membership is one of most highly prized recognitions of excellence in the life sciences for individual researchers. This year, Prof. Jean-Christophe Marine (VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology), Prof. Jan Steyaert (VIB-VUB Center for Structural Biology), and Prof. Alain Goossens (VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology) join the other VIB EMBO members. 

Jean-Christophe Marine and his team perform world-leading research in the analysis of pathways that underlie the genesis, progression and maintenance of cancer. Their interests focus on the mechanisms by which cancer-specific non-mutational (i.e. epigenetic and (post-)transcriptional) events modulate tumor initiation, progression and therapy outcome.

Jan Steyaert pioneered the use of Nanobodies® in X-ray crystallography, aiming at the highest hanging fruits of structural biology including membrane proteins, amyloidogenic proteins, and now also (transient) multiprotein complexes. Recent work of his lab focusses on exploiting Nanobodies® for drug discovery on difficult targets like GPCRs and on the engineering of Nanobodies® to be used in single particle cryo-EM or proteomics.

Alain Goossens and his group explore how plants steer the delicate balance between growth and defense, particularly the production of bioactive specialized metabolites. Their main focus is to unravel the action of one hormone in the regulation of plant metabolism, namely jasmonate. The influential discoveries made by his group enable better exploitation of the metabolic treasures of the plant world.

VIB’s latest EMBO members share their thoughts after hearing about their EMBO membership election:

Jean-Christophe Marine: “As junior PI is was part of the Young EMBO Investigator network, which was highly stimulating and beneficial to our work. I am now truly honored to have been selected by my peers as a full EMBO member and join this club of outstanding scientists, some of whom have been real role models and mentors to me. I owe this recognition to many of my lab members, colleagues, collaborators, and advisors who provided me with great help and support during my career.”

Jan Steyaert: “My election as an EMBO member will foster contacts with experts in disciplines at the boundaries of my research interests. And it is these multidisciplinary networks that boost the progress of science and nurture innovation”.

Alain Goossens: “It is an amazing feeling to be elected as an EMBO member. It is a fantastic recognition of the work of my team. I am looking forward to participate in this network of outstanding researchers and push the research of myself, and eventually others within the EMBO community, to a next level.”
Their election as EMBO members confirms VIB’s outstanding reputation in the life sciences.

They join several VIB colleagues who have been elected previously as EMBO member: Wout Boerjan Jenny Russinova, Patrik Verstreken, Peter Carmeliet, Bart De Strooper, Dirk Inzé, Dietmar Schmucker, Pierre Vanderhaeghen, Cédric Blanpain and Shoshana Wodak. Former VIB group leaders Claudia Bagni, Carlos Dotti, Jiri Friml, Bassem Hassan, Salvador Moncada, Désiré Collen, Walter Fiers, Willy Min Jou, Joël Vandekerckhove and Marc Van Montagu have also been honored with EMBO membership.
As new EMBO members, Prof. Marine, Prof. Steyaert, and Prof. Goossens will serve on the EMBO Council, Committees and Editorial Boards and play an important part in evaluating applications for EMBO funding, but also in the mentorship of young scientists. 

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