May 7, 2014

Two Professors at IST Austria elected to EMBO Membership

Nick Barton and Michael Sixt receive recognition for research excellence • IST Austria President Thomas Henzinger congratulates on distinction • Total of four distinguished researchers in Austria

Nick Barton and Michael Sixt, both Professors at IST Austria, have been elected to EMBO Membership, the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) announced on May 7. EMBO is an organization of leading researchers in the life sciences. IST Austria President Thomas Henzinger expressed his delight: “I congratulate Nick and Michael on this honor which once more illustrates the outstanding performance of the scientists at IST Austria.”

So far, more than 1500 of the best researchers in Europe and around the world have been elected EMBO Members and Associate Members. Each year, new Members and Associate Members are elected to life-long membership to ensure that EMBO is at the cutting edge of life science. An election to EMBO Membership recognizes a life scientist’s research excellence and outstanding contributions. In the annual election, new Members and Associate Members are selected, in 2014 a total of 106. On the occasion of EMBO’s 50th birthday in 2014, this number includes 50 scientists who were additionally elected in the areas of neuroscience and ecology & evolution. Of the four new members conducting research in Austria two are from IST Austria.

Nick Barton is one of the world’s leading scientists in the field of evolutionary population genetics. His work is regarded as a significant contribution to the further development of Charles Darwin’s 150 year-old insights into evolutionary mechanisms. Barton’s research significantly contributes to our understanding of how species adapt and split into new species. Barton has been at IST Austria since 2008. Amongst other distinctions, he was awarded an ERC Grant and the Darwin-Wallace Medal in 2009. In 2013, Barton was honored with the Mendel Medal of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and the Erwin Schrödinger-Prize of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Barton is Fellow of the Royal Society of London.

Michael Sixt, a cell biologist, aims to understand the molecular and mechanical principles of cell motility at both the cellular and tissue level. Currently, he uses leukocyte migration as a model for studying how the cell’s internal skeleton produces force to deform the cell, and how this force is transmitted to the surrounding tissue to propel the cell forward. In 2013, Sixt was the first Assistant Professor at IST Austria to be promoted to Professor. Sixt’s previous awards include an ERC Starting Grant, the START prize by the Austrian Science Fund FWF, an HFSP grant and the Ignaz L-Lieben Prize by the Austrian Academy of Sciences. 

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