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Maria Leptin to Head ERC

Maria Leptin, a German researcher, has been named to lead the European Research Council, Times Higher Education reports.

Currently, it adds, Leptin is the director of the European Molecular Biology Organization, a role she has had since 2010. Leptin, a developmental biologist and immunologist, additionally leads laboratories at University of Cologne and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Chemistry World notes. Her EMBL lab studies the mechanisms that determine cell shape as well as the innate immune response.

Leptin is to replace the interim president, Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, who is stepping down, THE adds. Bourguignon took on the post after the previous ERC president, Mauro Ferrari, resigned three months into his term following a clash over the ERC response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The ERC needs stability, but at the same time cannot afford to stand still," Leptin says in an interview published by the ERC. "Stability means not only financial stability, but also unwavering commitment to the founding principles of excellence and curiosity-driven, frontier research across the whole range of knowledge."

Leptin's term is to begin in October and last four years, with one possible renewal.