Three LMB scientists, Andrew Carter, Greg Jefferis and Melina Schuh, have been elected into the EMBO Young Investigator Programme for three years, starting on 1 January 2013.
This prestigious programme identifies some of the brightest young researchers in Europe, providing academic, practical and financial support. The LMB scientists are three of a group of 22 who have been elected this year, and they join a vibrant network of more than 200 Young Investigators from all over Europe.
Andrew Carter, from the LMB’s Structural Studies Division, is looking at the structure and mechanism of dynein. The contents of eukaryotic cells are organised and moved around by motor proteins running along the tracks that make up the cytoskeleton. The largest and most complicated of these is the microtubule motor cytoplasmic dynein. It is involved with numerous processes, from carrying organelles and viruses, to cell division, to clearing up misfolded proteins.
Greg Jefferis, from the LMB’s Neurobiology Division, is researching olfactory perception in the fruit fly. The goal is to study how neurons process information to turn smell into behaviour. In both fruit flies and mammals the sensory neurons that detect smells are connected to brain areas that trigger behaviours or form memories by only one level of processing; this is much more direct than vision. Understanding the basic principles of neural processing in simple animals provides critical context for studies of our own brains in health and disease.
Melina Schuh, from the LMB’s Cell Biology Division, is working to increase our understanding of mammalian meiotic maturation, the critical process of how oocytes develop and how they mature into fertilizable eggs. To become a fertilizable egg, an oocyte has to eliminate half of the chromosomes into a small polar body, as the other half are contributed by the sperm during fertilization. Errors during this process of chromosome segregation result in aneuploid embryos and thus miscarriages, genetic disorders, or infertility.
All three scientists have been invited to participate in the 13th EMBO Young Investigator meeting to be held at EMBL, Heidelberg, Germany from 6-8 May 2013.