On Tuesday, 4 July 2023, EMBO announced that 69 new members and associate members were elected. Elke Deuerling, professor of molecular microbiology and speaker of the Collaborative Research Centre 969 "Chemical and Biological Principles of Cellular Proteostasis" at the University of Konstanz, is one of the scientists who received this lifetime honour in 2023.
"These remarkable scientists have unravelled molecular secrets of life, deepened our understanding of health and disease, and are paving the way for further discoveries and innovations. Their achievements reinforce the critical role that life science research plays in the lives of citizens across Europe and the world", says EMBO Director Fiona Watt in the official press release.
Keep the protein balance
A functional proteome – that is the entire set of proteins in our cells – is crucial for the viability of any organism, from bacteria to humans. This functionality is ensured by the continuous renewal and regulation of a balanced cellular proteome, a process known as proteostasis. Elke Deuerling is one of the pioneers in the field of proteostasis research. Her studies on chaperones (folding assistants for proteins), for example, have led to a new understanding of how the bacterial chaperone "trigger factor" protects proteins in their delicate formation phase, thereby preventing faulty processes such as unwanted degradation or misfolding.
In her current research at the University of Konstanz, Deuerling is investigating the molecular processes of protein synthesis and processing also in organisms higher than bacteria, where these processes are more complex and less well understood so far. In a series of high-profile publications, she describes her findings, among other things, on the nascent polypeptide-associated complex (NAC) that plays the role of a multifunctional control centre in protein synthesis in all higher organisms, including humans. Deuerling was able to show that NAC can recognize the nascent proteins at their point of origin – at the ribosomes – and subsequently directs them to the correct processing or transport pathway. Deuerling's work regularly provides new insights into the important question of how the proteome of cells is renewed to maintain the proteostasis, viability and health of organisms.
EMBO is an international organization of more than 2,000 life scientists elected by peer experts. The major goals of EMBO are to support talented researchers, stimulate the exchange of scientific information and help build a research environment where scientists can achieve their best work.
Members are actively involved in the implementation of EMBO initiatives – for example, by serving on the EMBO Council and various committees, as reviewers of grant applications, or as mentors of early-career researchers. EMBO will formally welcome the new members and associate members at the annual Members' Meeting in Heidelberg, Germany, from 25-27 October 2023.
- Professor Elke Deuerling, professor of molecular microbiology at the University of Konstanz, elected as EMBO member
- Main research area: Deciphering the biological principles of how newly synthesized proteins are recognized, modified, and transported to the correct cellular destination to maintain vital proteostasis
- Elke Deuerling is speaker of the Collaborative Research Centre 969 " Chemical and Biological Principles of Cellular Proteostasis" at the University of Konstanz.
- In 2023, EMBO has admitted a total of 69 members and associate members
- Elected to membership are scientists who have made outstanding contributions to the life sciences