Nicola Iovino receives EMBO Young Investigator Award

Max Planck group leader honoured for exceptional research and scientific potential

October 26, 2017
Once a year the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) identifies the most promising young life scientists carrying out their research at an European research institution. For their exceptional achievements they are honoured with the EMBO Young Investigator Program Prize. In 2017, Nicola Iovino, group leader at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics, Freiburg is amongst the 28 awardees. He will receive significant academic, practical and financial support to advance his research in the next three years.

“It is truly an honour for me becoming a member of the EMBO Young Investigator Program. Joining this prestigious community of scientists offers great opportunities to collaborate and share ideas with top researchers from all across Europe,” says Nicola Iovino. The Max Planck group leader joins with EMBO Young Investigator Award a network of 47 current and 417 past young researchers who represent some of the best young group leaders in the life sciences in Europe and beyond.

The lab of Nicola Iovino, established at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics, Freiburg, in 2014, focuses on understanding the epigenetic events contributing to fertilization and early embryogenesis. By using the fruit fly Drosophila as a model organism, the team aims to understand how totipotency is established from the fusion of two highly specialized cell types: sperm and egg cells. Further, Iovino’s group is interested in the epigenetic mechanisms turning the totipotent zygote’s quiescent genome into a transcriptionally competent one. In their latest study the team was able to show that epigenetic modifications are transmitted from the mother’s egg cell to the embryo and they contribute in the offspring's gene regulation during early embryogenesis.

About EMBO and the Young Investigator Program

The European Molecular Biology Organisation (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.

The Young Investigator Program was established by EMBO in 2000. It supports the best up-and-coming group leaders in the life sciences in Europe and beyond. In 2017, more than 220 scientist applied for the program. Only 12.5% of them were selected. During their three-year tenure, EMBO Young Investigators receive a range of benefits, including an award of 15,000 euros and possible additional funds to support the establishment of their laboratories. This includes various training programs for the group leaders as well as their lab members and they gain access to core facilities at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory EMBL, Heidelberg, Germany. 


Nicola Iovino studied Biology at the University Federico II in Naples, Italy. He performed his doctoral studies at the Rockefeller University in New York, USA and University La Sapienza in Rome, Italy. From 2007-2013 Nicola Iovino was Postdoctoral fellow at the Rockefeller University, New York, USA and at IGH-CNRS, Montpellier, France. In 2014 he was appointed as Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics, Freiburg, Germany in the department of Chromatin Regulation. 

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