Professor Mellor awarded European honour

Professor Jane Mellor in the Biochemistry Department has been elected as a member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO). She is one of 66 leading life scientists to be honoured with the award and joins a membership of just over 1400 of the world's foremost molecular biologists.

Professor Jane Mellor

EMBO works across the 27 members states of Europe and in neighbouring countries to promote excellence in molecular life sciences. Its activities include providing fellowship support for scientists, running workshops and publishing a number of journals. It elects new members annually on the basis of scientific excellence, and members help to guide EMBO programmes and activities.

Professor Mellor is delighted to receive the award. "The election to EMBO membership is a great honour as it reflects the views of my colleagues in Europe," she said. At the announcement of new members, EMBO Director Hermann Bujard commented, "The election once again puts a spotlight on the most outstanding representatives of the current generation of life scientists."

Professor Mellor's research focuses on epigenetics, a term used to describe the modifications of the genome which do not alter the DNA sequence but which influence how the information in the genome is understood and used by the cell.

Epigenetic changes are varied and complex and include chemical modification of the DNA or of the proteins bound to the DNA. Researchers are learning that such changes may occur in response to environmental cues and are key to processes such as development, ageing and cancer.

Professor Mellor is studying epigenetic modification in bakers' yeast, a relatively simple single-cell organism. She is interested in how these changes influence the way yeast responds to different environmental conditions, allowing cells to switch from an active growing phase to a quiescent state.

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