The European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) has selected the first nine life scientists to join the Global Investigator Network, which was launched this year. These scientists, who are in the early stages of establishing independent laboratories, will receive support from EMBO to access career-enhancing training and networking opportunities. This new EMBO program supports life scientists who have, within the last six years, started their own laboratory in an EMBC Associate Member State (currently India and Singapore) or in a country or territory covered by a cooperation agreement with EMBC (currently Chile and Taiwan). The first nine Global Investigators selected this year are distributed across all four of these countries or territories. Among them, 2 Global Investigators are from Academia Sinica. They are Dr. Yen-Ping Hsueh from Institute of Molecular Biology and Dr. Isheng Jason Tsai from Biodiversity Research Center.

Dr. Hsueh’s group investigates the molecular interactions and coevolution between carnivorous fungi and nematodes. She uses interdisciplinary approaches combining genetics, genomics, chemical ecology and image analyses to address how do carnivorous fungi kill the model nematode C. elegans and to understand the molecular basis and evolutionary implications for this microscopic predator-prey interactions. Her long-term goal is to harness the nematode-killing potential of these predatory fungi to control parasitic nematode infection in plants, animals and humans.

“I am very excited to join the inaugural class of EMBO Global Investigator Network program. This is a great opportunity for me and my lab to build scientific network with scientists in Europe, Singapore, India, Chile and Taiwan. I also very much looking forward to the scientific discussions and interactions with many faculty of the EMBO Young Investigator Program” says Dr. Hsueh.

Dr. Tsai’s group is interested in using genomic and bioinformatic tools to study the genomic basis of (1) biodiversity, (2) ecology, (3) interaction, and (4) evolution of interesting traits in eukaryotic microorganisms. His lab focuses on generating reference genomes from fungi and nematodes that are endemic in Asia and are important in an evolutionary and ecological context. Through comparative and population genomic analyses Tsai lab will determine genetic information that corresponds with different phenotypes and start to investigate the external (ecologically or clinical) influences that govern this process. For example, understanding the molecular and genetic differences between parasitic and free-living organisms is an essential step towards identifying novel drug targets and other methods of controlling parasitic worms and the diseases they cause.

“I am very happy to be selected to as part of EMBO GIN program and I delicate this result to Biodiversity Research Center and my lab members. I hope to forge long term collaborations with future friends and strengthen the research reputation of Academia Sinica.”, says Dr. Tsai.

The European Molecular Biology Organization was founded in 1964. The major goals of the organization are to support talented researchers at all stages of their careers, stimulate the exchange of scientific information, and help build a research environment where scientists can achieve their best work. Currently, the EMBO Membership consists of more than 1,800 leading life scientists in Europe and worldwide. 88 EMBO Members have been honored with the Nobel Prize. The community of EMBO Members guides the organization’s activities: about half of the active members are involved every year in the evaluation processes for programs and activities.