John Innes Centre researcher Dr Xiaoqi Feng today receives a prestigious award reserved for Europe’s most promising young researchers. Dr Feng is one of 26 Young Investigators named by the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO).
EMBO selects life science researchers within their first four years as group leaders to become part of its Young Investigators Programme.
Dr Feng joins an active network of 102 current and 314 past Young Investigators and will receive support from EMBO during the foundation of their first independent laboratory. Her research in the John Innes Centre investigates epigenetics in plant germlines, studying how information is passed from one generation to the next.
“I am delighted to receive this prestigious award,” she says. “One of the most important questions for a geneticist is to choose and develop an appropriate model. I am glad that the EMBO committee feel as excited as I am about the potential of using plants as a genetic model to answer fundamental questions regarding germ cell epigenetics.”
For Dr Feng, the award highlights the strength of her team at the John Innes Centre: “During the interview, I was asked about my proudest achievement. There is no doubt that it is my team, the extremely passionate, dedicated and collaborative students and postdocs who make it all happen. We support each other through the difficulties in experiments (and life), and are having so much fun. The Young Investigators Programme will increase the exposure of my lab members, which I am very excited about.”
The Young Investigator Programme identifies recent group leaders with a proven record of scientific excellence and offers them access to a range of benefits during their four-year tenure. These include an award of 15,000 euros, with the potential for additional funding, mentorship by a senior scientist from the community of EMBO Members, access to training in leadership skills and responsible research practices, as well as networking opportunities.
“The accepted candidates have all shown outstanding promise in their early careers and impressed our selection committee with both the quality of their current work and their proposals for future research,” says EMBO Director, Maria Leptin. “We look forward to supporting them in establishing their own research groups.”
The 2018 group of Young Investigators comprises scientists based in 11 countries.
EMBO is an organisation of more than 1,800 leading researchers that promotes excellence in the life sciences in Europe and beyond.