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CeMM Adjunct PI Joanna Loizou will join AstraZeneca


Joanna Loizou receives a commemorative plaque from CeMM Scientific Director Giulio Superti-Furga.

Joanna Loizou, one of the Principal Investigators who helped establish CeMM from 2011 to 2020, is leaving Vienna to join AstraZeneca. After her full engagement at CeMM, in 2020 Joanna Loizou became group leader at the Medical University of Vienna while remaining a CeMM Adjunct PI. CeMM congratulates Joanna on her new position as Director in the Translational Medicine Department at AstraZeneca in Cambridge, UK. After her significant fundamental research contributions to the field of DNA repair, genome stability, and genome editing she can now use her knowledge and experience to further improve the translational efficiency of genome integrity research for the treatment of cancer patients. Her work investigated the mechanisms by which cells respond to and repair DNA damage to maintain genomic stability and suppress tumorigenesis and other rare hereditary diseases. Her contributions to this field began during her PhD at the University of Manchester and continued through her postdoctoral work at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), WHO, France and the London Research Institute (LRI), and Cancer Research UK (CR-UK). In 2011, Joanna established her independent group at CeMM where her work, among other research highlights, identified a previously unknown NER-independent repair mechanism for UV-induced DNA damage (Mazouzi et al, Mol. Cell 2017). In 2020, Joanna and her team moved to the Medical University of Vienna to join the Institute of Cancer Research, while remaining an Adjunct PI with CeMM.

In 2020, her high research status and the potential of her research has been recognized by an ERC Synergy Grant in collaboration with Steve Jackson (University of Cambridge, UK) and Jacob Corn (ETH Zurich). This was the first ERC Synergy Grant in Austria won and coordinated by a female scientist. Joanna Loizou’s research achievements were also recognized with the Johann Wilhelm Ritter von Mannagetta Prize for Medicine by the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

Joanna Loizou recruited and supervised a substantial number of international researchers, demonstrated her ability to lead and motivate her team effectively to produce internationally competitive research outcomes for an impressive overall track record.

We would like to express a heartfelt “thank you” to Joanna and her team for all of the scientific contributions to CeMM and personal engagement with our community. We wish her all the best in this next chapter and are proud that a former CeMM Principal Investigator has now such an important medical translational responsibility. We all hope that she will come back and tell us about her experience in bringing the fruits of frontier research to benefit patients. Joanna Loizou and her personal development thus fulfils the societal mandate of CeMM to train future leaders in molecular medicine, and to work on medical solutions from the bedside to the bench and back.