MBI Deputy Director becomes the first NUS-based EMBO Associate Member
MBI’s GV Shivashankar joins EMBO
MBI SciComms | JUNE 2019
MBI Deputy Director Professor GV Shivashankar has been elected as an Associate Member of EMBO (the European Molecular Biology Organization). Prof Shivashankar, who is also an IFOM-NUS Chair Professor at the National University of Singapore (NUS), becomes the first scientist from NUS, and only the third Singapore-based Scientist, to be elected to the prestigious EMBO membership. Prof Shivashankar’s election comes in recognition of his stellar academic and research contributions to the emerging field of nuclear mechanogenomics.
EMBO is an organization comprised of more than 1800 scientists that strives to achieve excellence in life sciences research in Europe and across the globe. Through its various initiatives, including organization of courses, workshops, and conferences, and the publication of peer-reviewed scientific journals, EMBO aims to promote the exchange of ideas and novel findings and foster international collaborations amongst scientists from various parts of the world. It also aids in advancing the growth of young and upcoming scientists by providing funding support in the form of short- and long-term fellowships, young investigator grants, travel grants, and other awards.
EMBO Members are excellent scientists who conduct research at the forefront of all life science disciplines” says EMBO Director Maria Leptin.
In 2016, Singapore became the first non-European nation to become an EMBO Associate Member state. The EMBO Associate Membership is reserved for a small number of leading scientists outside Europe and is intended to highlight the importance of interacting with scientists on a global scale.
At MBI, Prof Shivashankar heads the Mechanogenomics & Cancer Diagnostics Laboratory, which explores how the mechanical properties of a cell’s microenvironment regulate its nuclear architecture and gene expression and how this gets perturbed in diseases such as cancer. Proposing the novel idea of a ‘mechanogenomic code’, the lab has recently developed a diagnostic tool that employs machine learning techniques to distinguish cancer cells from normal cells based on mechanically-induced changes in chromosome organization.
Other recent findings from the Shivashankar lab include the development of novel methods for the generation of stem-cell like and rejuvenated cell-states from mature somatic cells using mechanical signals alone, are promising new avenues for applications in regenerative medicine.