Maya Schuliner

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. She has been invited to present her research at the award ceremony at the ASCB | EMBO 2017 conference in Philadelphia, USA, on 4 December.