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Pioneering clinical epidemiologist among outstanding scientists elected to EMBO

Professor George Davey-Smith

Press release issued: 9 July 2024

George Davey-Smith, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology, has been elected to the prestigious EMBO Membership, an honour which recognises research excellence and outstanding achievements in the life sciences.

He is among 120 leading researchers in Europe and around the world to join EMBO (European Molecular Biology Organization). Collectively, they influence the direction of European science and strengthen research communities across Europe. 

As Director of Bristol’s Medical Research Council Integrative Epidemiology Unit (MRC IEU), Professor Davey-Smith leads a team which conducts some of the UK's most advanced population health science research. Its research uses genetics, population data and experimental interventions to look for the underlying causes of chronic disease in populations. It is highly unusual for an epidemiologist to become a member of EMBO.

His numerous contributions to research on the effectiveness and ineffectiveness of health care and health policy has shown that socio-economic circumstances have a huge impact on health and are the cause of major health inequalities.  He has also pioneered Mendelian randomization, a scientific method that uses genetic variation to identify causal relationships in chronic disease, and which is now widely used in studies internationally.

Professor George Davey-Smith said: “As an epidemiologist I am deeply honoured to be elected a member of EMBO.  I look forward to new interdisciplinary ideas that may emerge through connecting with the distinguished EMBO membership."

Fiona Watt, EMBO Director, added: “The new EMBO Members and Associate Members have made immense contributions to fundamental life science research, and, in many cases, their work has paved the way for innovations that have improved lives and livelihoods around the world. As EMBO marks its 60th anniversary, we celebrate the pivotal roles played by the EMBO Membership in strengthening international life science research and contributing to the EMBO Programmes and activities. I send my warmest congratulations to all those elected.”

EMBO Members guide the execution of the EMBO Programmes and activities, for example by evaluating funding applications, serving on EMBO Council and committees, and contributing to initiatives such as training, policy, outreach and mentorship. New members are nominated and elected by the existing EMBO Membership.

An online directory listing all EMBO Members and Associate Members, their affiliations, and subject areas is available here.

Professor Davey-Smith will receive his EMBO membership at a new members meeting of the EMBO community between 29 October and 1 November 2024 in Heidelberg, Germany.

Further information

About EMBO Members
The newly elected Members and Associate Members reside in 37 countries/territories. The new EMBO Members are based in 24 Member States of the EMBC, the intergovernmental organization that funds the main EMBO Programmes and activities.

The first EMBO Members were elected in 1964 ­­– that initial group of 169 life scientists has now grown into a community of more than 2,100 EMBO Members and Associate Members. Ninety-two Nobel laureates are among those who have previously been elected to the EMBO Membership.

  • 120 outstanding life scientists have been elected to the EMBO Membership, comprising 100 EMBO Members and 20 EMBO Associate Members.
  • The new EMBO Members and Associate Members reside in 37 different countries/territories.
  • 49 of the 120 new Members and Associate Members are women (41 per cent) and 71 are men (59 per cent).

About the MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit (IEU)
The MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit (IEU) at the University of Bristol conducts some of the UK's most advanced population health science research. It uses genetics, population data and experimental interventions to look for the underlying causes of chronic disease. The unit exploits the latest advances in genetic and epigenetic technologies. They develop new analytic methods to improve our understanding of how our family background behaviours and genes interact to influence health outcomes.

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