Salvador Aznar Benitah elected EMBO member

Salvador Aznar Benitah leads the Stem cells and cancer lab at IRB Barcelona

Salvador Aznar Benitah leads the Stem cells and cancer lab at IRB Barcelona


Nine scientists at IRB Barcelona form part of EMBO, an organisation that comprises more than 1,800 outstanding researchers from Europe and around the world specialised in molecular biology.

“This will allow me to strengthen interactions with other European researchers, as well as to stay abreast of new ideas, concepts and technologies,” says Aznar Benitah.

Salvador Aznar Benitah, ICREA researcher at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), together with another 61 scientists from European and the rest of the world, has been elected member of EMBO, according to an announcement made by this European organisation today. Each year, EMBO, which has a membership of 1,800, selects new scientists to join its ranks. Candidate scientists must be nominated by current EMBO members and approved by another five members from different countries, who validate the outstanding profiles of the candidates in molecular biology.

“Becoming an EMBO member is very good news for me personally and for my lab. It means the opportunity to form part of a large community of top researchers covering many disciplines,” says Aznar Benitah, head of the Stem Cells and Cancer lab. “It will allow me to strengthen interactions with other European researchers, as well as to stay abreast of new ideas, concepts and technologies,” he adds.

Salvador Aznar Benitah focuses on two main lines of research. His lab addresses the relation between stem cells, circadian rhythm and ageing. In this regard, some of his most recent findings were published in two articles in the journal Cell in 2017. The other line of research centres on the relation between metastasis-initiating cells and dietary fat. Thanks to results published in Nature at the end of 2016, Aznar Benitah has recently been awarded a 2018 Advanced Grant from the European Research Council worth €2.5 M to continue this research.

EMBO director, Maria Leptin, says that “EMBO Members are leading scientists working across all of the life sciences. They also strengthen the research community in Europe and beyond through their international collaborations and connections”. Of the scientists elected members this year, 53 reside in the 17 member states of the European Molecular Biology Conference (EMBC), an intergovernmental funding body of EMBO. The other 9 are currently working in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Japan and the USA.

Salvador Aznar Benitah graduated in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from the McGill University (Montreal, Canada) in 1998. He then received a PhD in Molecular Oncology from the Biomedical Research Institute in Madrid in Madrid (Spain) in 2003. In the same year, he moved to London to take up a postdoctoral position at the London Research Institute (Cancer Research UK), where he began to study the behaviour of adult stem cells. He set up his own lab as Junior ICREA Researcher at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG, Barcelona) in 2007. He was appointed ICREA Research Professor in 2012, and in September 2013 he joined IRB Barcelona as group leader.

In addition to Aznar Benitah, EMBO membership is held by Ferran Azorín, Jordi Casanova, Miquel Coll, Cayetano González, Núria López-Bigas, Raúl Méndez, Angel. R. Nebreda and Manuel Serrano. These members are actively involved in the evaluation of EMBO funding applications, and they serve on the EMBO Council and on various other committees.

More information: EMBO press release