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Prof Ian Chambers elected new member of EMBO

7 May 2014

CRM Professor Ian Chambers has been elected as a new member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation, EMBO, an organisation of 1,500 leading researchers that promotes excellence in the life sciences. New EMBO members are elected annually in recognition of their contributions to scientific excellence and as such Prof Chambers’ election is a tribute to his research and contribution to the scientific community.

Prof Ian Chambers’ group studies embryonic stem (ES) cells. These cells possess the paradoxical capacities to divide to produce cells identical to themselves (self-renewal) and to differentiate into all the cell types of the body. More specifically, the Chambers’ group aims to understand how key regulatory molecules direct ES cell self-renewal and differentiation. In 2003 this led to the discovery of a master regulator of ES cells which enables ES cells to self-renew under conditions in which they normally differentiate. For this reason, Prof Chambers named this regulator Nanog after the mythical Celtic land of the ever young “Tir nan Og”. Following up from this discovery, the group continued to unravel how ES cells are controlled and over the years this has resulted in high quality research published in leading scientific journals including Cell (2003, 2009), Science (2008) and Nature (2006, 2007, 2010, 2013). 

CRM Director Prof Charles ffrench-Constant said: “CRM is exceptionally proud of this achievement and grateful to EMBO for recognising Prof Chambers’ contributions to science. The election highlights the importance of good quality fundamental science as a platform upon which to build translational research with the ultimate aim to develop new regenerative medicine treatments.”

Upon hearing the news Prof Ian Chambers commented: “I am very pleased to have been elected to EMBO. This honour is as much, if not more a reflection of the commitment and creativity of the members of my group, both past and present, without whose hard work this recognition would not have been made. This achievement is also a tribute to collective curiosity; in our case, how gene switch proteins like Nanog can alter cell behaviour. In the future, I hope to contribute to the further development of stem cell and regenerative medicine applications within the EMBO framework”.

The MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine (CRM) is a world leading research centre based at the University of Edinburgh. Scientists and clinicians at CRM study stem cells, disease and tissue repair to advance human health. The Centre is based at the Scottish Centre for Regenerative Medicine (SCRM) building, on a site shared by the Royal Infirmary Hospital and the University's Clinical Research facilities. With new state-of-the-art facilities and a team of more than 200 scientists and clinicians, CRM is positioned uniquely to translate basic scientific knowledge to industry and the clinic.

Notes to editors