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Dr Melina Schuh

Dr Melina Schuh. © Böttcher-Gajewski / Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry


Dr Melina Schuh won an 2018 EMBO Gold Medal today for her role as a young leader in the life sciences field, in particular in recognition of her ground-breaking work on the biology of mammalian eggs. She shares the award with another researcher: Marek Bassler.

EMBO Member Sean Munro describes the German biochemist Dr Schuh as “a truly remarkable young scientist. She is utterly committed, a broad thinker, experimentally fearless, and always looking for new questions and approaches. She has pioneered methods to image mammalian meiosis and used them to identify new players in this fundamental process. In a particularly important move she also performed the first live imaging of meiosis in human oocytes.”

© MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology/ Dean Clift

Dr Melina Schuh was awarded an ERC Starting Grant in 2013 for her work at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry. The grant, worth 1.5 million euro, supports a five-year research project investigating chromosomal abnormalities in mammalian eggs. The project studies how fertilizable egg cells develop in mammals and how problems in this process can cause pregnancy loss, infertility, and birth defects such as Down syndrome. This research has already led to a new technique for studying the functions of proteins in such egg cells, which may help develop new therapies for diseases such as Huntington’s.

The EMBO Gold Medal is awarded annually and recognizes outstanding contributions to the life sciences in Europe by independent group leaders who are under the age of 40. Each winner receives a bursary of 10,000 euros.

Full EMBO press release and interview with Dr Melina Schuh

About the ERC

The European Research Council, set up by the European Union in 2007, is the premiere European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. Every year, it selects and funds the very best, creative researchers of any nationality and age, to run projects based in Europe. The ERC has three core grant schemes: Starting Grants, Consolidator Grants and Advanced Grants. The Synergy Grant scheme was re-launched in 2017. To date, the ERC has funded some 8,000 top researchers at various stages of their careers, and over 50,000 postdocs, PhD students and other staff working in their research teams. The ERC also strives to attract top researchers from anywhere in the world to come to Europe. Key global research funding bodies in the United States, China, Japan, Brazil and other countries have concluded agreements to provide their researchers with opportunities to temporarily join ERC grantees' teams. The ERC is governed by an independent body, the Scientific Council, led by the ERC President, Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon. The ERC has an annual budget of €1.8 billion for the year 2018. The overall ERC budget from 2014 to 2020 is over €13 billion, as part of the Horizon 2020 programme, for which European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Carlos Moedas is responsible.