Wellcome Connecting Science Director honoured by EMBO

Date: 6 July 2022

Our Director, Professor Julian Rayner, has been elected to membership of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO)

Today (6 July) Professor Julian Rayner joins 64 fellow researchers from 22 countries in being elected to membership of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). EMBO was created to promote excellence in molecular life sciences in Europe and each year it recognises new members on the basis of scientific excellence.

Election as an EMBO Member is a lifelong honour that recognises a researcher’s outstanding achievements in, and their significant contribution to, the life sciences. The organisation is made up of more than 1,900 of the world’s foremost researchers who serve on the organisation’s council and committees, evaluate applications for EMBO funding, and act as mentors to young scientists.

Professor Julian Rayner is Director of the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research (CIMR), part of the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, and Director of Wellcome Connecting Science. Julian was previously a member of Faculty in the Parasites and Microbes programme at the Wellcome Sanger Institute. During his time at the Sanger Institute, he worked with colleagues to carry out the first whole genome-scale genetic screens in malaria parasites, uncovering multiple new essential drug targets. As Director of CIMR Julian now leads an interdisciplinary research institute focussed on understanding the molecular mechansisms of disease, where his team uses understanding of the interactions between malaria parasites and human red blood cells to identify and prioritise drug and vaccine therapies. He also oversees the strategic direction of Wellcome Connecting Science to ensure that dialogue and learning between scientists, clinicians, and the general public sits at the centre of research endeavours in the UK and around the world.


Science is a truly collaborative process, drawing together the generosity and support of the public, the imagination and dedication of scientists, and the insights and expertise of clinicians. I am humbled to be recognised by my scientific peers and grateful to my team members and research partners all around the world without whom my research would not be possible. EMBO embodies the supportive, open spirit that Wellcome Connecting Science seeks to nurture, and I look forward to contributing to their activities.

Professor Julian Rayner, Director, Wellcome Connecting Science

In addition to Julian, two other Wellcome Sanger Institute scientists have also been elected to EMBO membership. Professor Menna Clatworthy is NIHR Research Professor and Professor of Translational Immunology, an Honorary Consultant Nephrologist, Director of Clinical Studies at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge, and a member of Associate Faculty in the Cellular Genetics Programme at the Wellcome Sanger Institute. At the Sanger Institute, Menna’s research focuses on discovering and understanding the different types of immune cell found within different organs in humans, and how the unique environment found within each tissue affects the cells’ functions.

Professor Fabian Theis is head of the Computational Health Center at Helmholtz Munich, Chair of “Mathematical Modelling of Biological Systems” at the Technical University of Munich, Director of HelmholtzAI and a member of Associate Faculty in the Cellular Genetics Programme at the Wellcome Sanger Institute. Fabian has pioneered the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to gather, store, analyse and interpret genomic data from single-cell genomic studies.

Visit the Wellcome Sanger Institute to find out more about Menna and Fabian.

Congratulations to our Director, and our Sanger Institute colleagues, on their EMBO membership!

About EMBO

EMBO logoEMBO is an organization of more than 1,900 leading researchers that promotes excellence in the life sciences in Europe and beyond. The goals of the organization are to support talented researchers at all stages of their careers, stimulate the exchange of scientific information, and help build a research environment where scientists can achieve their best work.

EMBO helps young scientists to advance their research, promote their international visibility and ensure their mobility. Courses, workshops, conferences, and scientific journals disseminate the latest research and offer training in techniques to maintain high standards of excellence in research practice. EMBO helps to shape science and research policy by seeking input and feedback from our community and by following closely the trends in science in Europe. For more information: www.embo.org