LMB group leader, John O’Neill, has been elected into the 2016 EMBO Young Investigator Programme. This prestigious programme recognises some of Europe’s best young scientists and provides academic, practical and financial support to help them realise their potential as group leaders and world-class researchers.
This year 25 Young Investigators have been elected from over 200 applications. John joins a vibrant and broad network of 74 current and 382 past Young Investigators from all over Europe, and from EMBC Associate Member States from outside of Europe.
John, from the LMB’s Cell Biology Division, is studying the mechanisms that drive biological rhythms at the cellular level. In particular, every cell in the body has an internal circadian (daily) clock, which affects many aspects of health and disease. In humans the sleep/wake cycle is overtly circadian-regulated, for example, as are many aspects of physiology and metabolism. John’s research has already shown that, whilst cycles of nascent ‘clock gene’ expression are required for circadian organisation of behaviour and physiology, they do not properly account for circadian rhythms in individual cells. John’s group are therefore trying to disentangle the cogs and gears of the cellular clockwork to identify the minimal set of components that keep it ticking. They also explore the biological consequences of cellular timekeeping – investigating how this cellular clockwork interacts with fundamental cellular processes, such as cytoskeletal dynamics, to drive daily rhythms in important biological processes, such as how well wounds heal.