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13 July 2021

Fiona Watt appointed as EMBO Director

Professor Watt will be the sixth director of EMBO – excellence in the life sciences – taking up the appointment in early 2022.

Professor Fiona Watt

Cell biologist and founding director of the Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine (CSCRM) at King’s, Professor Fiona Watt will succeed current EMBO Director Maria Leptin, who was recently appointed President of the European Research Council.

“We are pleased that Fiona Watt will become the next EMBO Director and look forward to working with her,” says Michael N. Hall, Chair of EMBO Council.

With her strong leadership skills, extensive executive and publishing experience and boundless enthusiasm she is ideally suited to lead EMBO in fulfilling its mission of promoting excellence in the life sciences in Europe and beyond. She is an internationally renowned scientist who has made major discoveries in stem cell biology.”

Michael N. Hall, Chair of EMBO Council

Professor Watt is also executive chair of the Medical Research Council funding agency. Her research interest is the role of stem cells in adult tissue maintenance and how this information can be harnessed for regenerative medicine.

EMBO, an organisation comprising over 1 800 researchers, promotes excellence in the life sciences in Europe and further afield. The organization supports talented researchers at all stages of their careers yet has a particular interest in helping young scientists to advance their research, promote their international reputations and ensure their mobility.

I feel deeply privileged to be taking the helm at EMBO. Its mission of supporting talented researchers at all stages of their careers - without regard to national boundaries - is more important than ever before."

Professor Fiona Watt

As the EMBO Director Professor Watt will further develop the programmes offered by EMBO to support life scientists. She will engage with the community of researchers and foster discussions to promote excellence, stimulate the exchange of scientific information, and help build a research environment where scientists can achieve their best work.

Professor Watt takes up the appointment in addition to a number of other positions she fills, including serving on the (advisory) editorial boards of Current Opinion in Cell Biology, Cell Stem Cell and EMBO Molecular Medicine. She is also on the advisory boards of the bioRxiv and medRxiv preprint servers.