Maya Schuldiner receives EMBO Gold Medal 2017

Heidelberg, 8 June 2017 – Maya Schuldiner from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel is the recipient of the 2017 EMBO Gold Medal. She receives the award for significantly advancing the understanding of protein synthesis, trafficking and quality control.

The EMBO Gold Medal is awarded annually and recognizes outstanding contributions to the life sciences in Europe by young independent group leaders.

“Young independent group leaders are essential for a strong research ecosystem,” says EMBO Director Maria Leptin. “They identify important unanswered questions, explore new experimental approaches, and act as mentors for the next generation of scientists. The EMBO Gold Medal highlights some of the remarkable achievements through which this group of scientists drives our understanding of biology.”

Schuldiner uses yeast as a model organism to examine two aspects of organelle cell biology: how proteins that reside inside organelles are targeted to the correct destination and how different organelles interact with each other to drive cell function. Specifically, she focuses on revealing new proteins and their functions in these processes. To achieve this her lab combines a wide variety of high-throughout screening techniques with cell biological, genetic and biochemical approaches.

EMBO Member and previous EMBO Gold Medal recipient Matthew Freeman, University of Oxford, UK, describes Schuldiner as “an exceptional scientist, an intellectual leader, and an inspiring character. Maya’s research stands out for successfully merging advanced high-throughput technologies with the ability to ask smart, focused questions.”

Maya Schuldiner describes receiving the EMBO Gold Medal as “a highlight in my career.” She continues: “I’m excited to see that when one is truly passionate about being a scientist and just as devoted to being a mother it is possible to make both work together. And I would like to thank my husband Oren Schuldiner, because without his true partnership in raising our children I could not be as committed to science.”

She will receive the EMBO Gold Medal and an award of 10,000 euros at an award ceremony at the ASCB | EMBO 2017 meeting in Philadelphia, USA, on 4 December, during which she will also present her research.


Maya Schuldiner carried out a PhD in developmental biology at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel, under the supervision of Nissim Benvenisty. She switched fields to cellular biology for her postdoctoral research, which she carried out in the laboratory of Jonathan Weissman at the University of California, San Francisco. In 2008, she moved back to Israel to establish her own laboratory at the Weizmann Institute of Sciences in Rehovot. The research in her laboratory focuses on using high-throughput screening and imaging techniques to discover novel functions of proteins in yeast.

Maya Schuldiner received a Human Frontiers Science Program Career Development Award in 2008 and became a member of the EMBO Young Investigator Programme in 2011. She received a European Research Council Consolidator Grant in 2015 and currently holds the Dr. Omenn and Martha Darling Professorial Chair in Molecular Genetics.

She is passionate about mentoring and has established a course on combining motherhood and career and a course on scientific soft-skills, which she currently teaches at the Weizmann Institute.


About EMBO

EMBO is an organization of more than 1700 leading researchers that promotes excellence in the life sciences. 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 European research environment where scientists can achieve their best work.

EMBO helps young scientists to advance their research, promote their international reputations and ensure their mobility. Courses, workshops, conferences and scientific journals disseminate the latest research and offer training in techniques to maintain high standards of excellence in research practice. EMBO helps to shape science and research policy by seeking input and feedback from our community and by following closely the trends in science in Europe.

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