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René Ketting of the Institute of Molecular Biology elected to EMBO membership

Ren Ketting is a leading expert on the biology of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs). His research group uses C. elegans and zebrafish as model systems to study mechanisms of development and disease, focusing on three specific questions in epigenetics: how are ncRNAs able to silence the expression of certain genes, how do they regulate gene activity by changing chromatin (the way DNA is packaged), and how do they stop transposons, short bits of DNA that can move within the genome. Transposon movement can impact the stability of genetic material and cause mutations, so understanding how ncRNAs prevent it is particularly important for genome integrity.

Ketting's election to EMBO membership comes as the organisation is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2014. "In the past decades, many of the concepts, techniques and insights of molecular biology have been applied to fundamental questions in other disciplines of the life sciences," EMBO Director Maria Leptin said in a prepared statement. "Molecular explanations are now emerging for the origins and functions of complex systems like the brain and the living world around us. We wanted to reflect more of these exciting developments in our membership."

Prof. Ketting has been an EMBO Young Investigator since 2007. That same year he also received a prestigious European Research Council Starting Grant. He was awarded the FEBS Anniversary Prize in 2008. As a full EMBO member, he will now provide suggestions and feedback on the activities of the organisation, serve on selection committees for EMBO programmes, and mentor young scientists. Previously at the Hubrecht Institute in Utrecht, the Netherlands, Ren Ketting's research group is now based at IMB, and he is also a professor in the Faculty of Biology at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.


Contact: Dr. Ralf Dahm
Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz

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René Ketting of the Institute of Molecular Biology elected to EMBO membership
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