Omaya Dudin becomes member of EMBO Young Investigator Programme

Omaya Dudin. Credit: EPFL

Omaya Dudin. Credit: EPFL

Omaya Dudin, a scientist with EPFL’s School of Life Sciences, has been selected as a member of the new EMBO Young Investigator Programme, amongst a distinguished cohort of 26 exceptional scientists.

The EMBO Young Investigator Programme is an initiative “that supports excellent young group leaders in the early stages of their independent careers.” Members will receive four-year financial support for networking while also benefiting from training opportunities, support for their lab members, and mentoring. They also become part of an international network of more than 700 current and former EMBO Young Investigators, Installation Grantees and Global Investigators.

EPFL is delighted to announce that Dr Omaya Dudin at the School of Life Sciences has been selected as a member of the Programme, among a distinguished cohort of only 26 scientists. Dudin is an Ambizione fellow leading a lab which investigates the evolutionary cell biology and multicellular developmental diversity of protists.

Dudin's research focuses particularly on understanding the life cycles of Ichthyosporea, known to be among the closest living relatives of animals. He currently aims to understand the origins of animal embryogenesis using Ichthyosporea, exploring how this ancestral form evolved into the first multicellular animals.

Phylogenomic analyses reveal that animals are closely related to unicellular eukaryotes like Choanoflagellatea, Filasterea, and Teretosporea (Ichthyosporea & Corallochytrea), providing insights into our evolutionary origins. The distinct developmental modes of these unicellular holozoan lineages, including the less-studied Ichthyosporeans, are central to Dudin's work.

“There are more than 10 million species estimated to live on this planet, and most the mechanistic biology we know comes from a handful of 50 model organisms,” says Dudin. “I’m honored to see that funding is also going towards non-model species such as Ichthyosporeans, which is key to establish new systems and uncover exciting new biology.”

EMBO official announcement