Petra Hajkova elected as EMBO member

 14 May 2018   Grants and awards

Professor Petra Hajkova, Head of the Reprogramming and Chromatin group at MRC LMS elected as EMBO member

Petra Hajkova has been elected as a member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) in recognition of her high quality research. 

Petra is one of 62 outstanding life scientists elected to the EMBO membership, joining a group of more than 1,800 of the best researchers in Europe and around the world.

“I feel very honoured by this recognition of our work. I have always highly respected the EMBO community and the work the organization is doing at various levels to support research in Europe. I feel perhaps even stronger about this now in the context of Brexit and the uncertainties we are facing in the UK regarding our future integration and role in the European research landscape.” says Hajkova.

Petra Hajkova leads the Reprogramming and Chromatin group at MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (LMS) based at Imperial College London. The group uses in vivo models to elucidate molecular mechanisms underlying naturally occurring reprogramming events. Of particular interest to Petra’s team are the global changes of epigenetic information that are observed in the early mammalian embryos immediately after fertilisation and during the development of early germ cells. Understanding the molecular principles implicated in these epigenetic process will allow us to stabilise and modulate epigenetic configuration inside embryos or cells cultured ex vivo in a dish.

“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,” says EMBO Director Maria Leptin.

Petra joined the MRC LMS in 2009 and has progressed from the MRC Career Development Award through Programme Leader Track (2011) to Programme Leader (2016). In 2017 she was promoted to Professor of Developmental Epigenetics at Imperial College London. Prior to joining the Institute Petra completed a Masters in Molecular Genetics at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin, Germany and postdoctoral research at the Wellcome Trust CRUK Gurdon Institute in Cambridge, UK.

Election as an EMBO member builds upon recognition Petra has gained throughout her career. She was a selected member of the European EpigeneSys network and the recipient of a Young Investigator’s Research Integrating Systems Biology and Epigenetics (RISE1) grant (2011), she received EMBO Young Investigator Programme award (2013), ERC Consolidator grant (2015) and recently the Mary Lyon Medal (2017).

The newly elected EMBO members reside in 24 countries. The average age of newly elected members is 50.7 years and among the 62 elected new members only 22 are women (35.5%).

Petra Hajkova joins fellow MRC LMS researchers Irene Miguel-AliagaLuis AragonAmanda Fisher and Matthias Merkenschlager who are all EMBO members. An online directory with all existing and new EMBO Members is available at

The new EMBO Members and Associate Members will be formally welcomed at the Members’ Meeting in Heidelberg between 24 and 26 October 2018.