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Trinity Fellow Professor Marta Zlatic elected to the Academy of Medical Sciences

Trinity Fellow Professor Marta Zlatic, Group Leader in the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology’s (MRC LMB) Neurobiology Division, has been elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

The mission of the Academy of Medical Sciences is to advance biomedical and health research and its translation into benefits for society. Each year the Academy elects those who have made outstanding discoveries or made sustained contributions to the medical sciences to its Fellowship, which is drawn from the NHS, academia, industry and public life.

This year 58 Fellows were elected to the Academy out of 365 candidates. Professor Zlatic is one of three academics from the University of Cambridge to join the Fellowship. Her group at the LMB seeks to understand how the structure and function of the nervous system enables animals to learn, make decisions and act, as well as how the brain changes when memories are updated.

Marta Zlatic in her lab. Photo: MRC LMB.

In March 2023, Professor Zlatic, in collaboration with the group of Dr Albert Cardona at the LMB and Professor Joshua Vogelstein at Johns Hopkins University, mapped every neuron in the brain of a fruit fly larva, revealing how they are wired together for the first time. The connectivity map of the entire brain of the Drosphila melanogaster – which is called the ‘connectome’ – contained 3016 neurons and 548,000 synapses.

The culmination of five years of research, which including scanning thousands of slices of the minute insect brain and developing new computational models, the connectome provides a new basis for studies into how the brain processes the flow of sensory information and translates that into action.

Before joining the LMB in 2019, Professor Zlatic was a Group Leader at HHMI Janelia Research Campus in Virginia, USA, following her PhD in Neurobiology at the University of Cambridge’s Department of Zoology and Junior Research Fellowship at Trinity College. She has received several awards including the Eric Kandel Young Neuroscientist Prize 2017 and the Royal Society Francis Crick Medal 2020.

Professor Andrew Morris, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences, said:

It is an honour to welcome these brilliant minds to our Fellowship. Our new Fellows lead pioneering work in biomedical research and are driving remarkable improvements in healthcare. We look forward to working with them, and learning from them, in our quest to foster an open and progressive research environment that improves the health of people everywhere through excellence in medical science.

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