European Molecular Biology Laboratory

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European Molecular Biology Laboratory
EMBL logo.svg
Established 1974
Director General Iain Mattaj
Faculty ~95

Germany Heidelberg
France Grenoble
Germany Hamburg
United Kingdom Hinxton (near Cambridge)
Italy Monterotondo (near Rome)

Australia Clayton (in Melbourne)

The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) is a molecular biology research institution supported by 21 member states, three prospect and two associate member states. EMBL was created in 1974 and is an intergovernmental organisation funded by public research money from its member states.

Research at EMBL is conducted by approximately 85 independent groups covering the spectrum of molecular biology. The Laboratory operates from five sites: the main laboratory in Heidelberg, and outstations in Hinxton (the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI), in England), Grenoble (France), Hamburg (Germany), and Monterotondo (near Rome).

Research at EMBL[edit]

EMBL main entrance

Each of the sites has a specific research field. The EBI is a hub for bioinformatic research and services, developing and maintaining a large number of scientific databases, which are free of charge. At Grenoble and Hamburg, research is focused on structural biology. EMBL's dedicated Mouse Biology Unit is located in Monterotondo. At the headquarters in Heidelberg, there are units in Cell Biology and Biophysics, Developmental Biology, Genome Biology and Structural and Computational Biology as well as service groups complementing the aforementioned research fields.

Many scientific breakthroughs have been made at EMBL, most notably the first systematic genetic analysis of embryonic development in the fruit fly by Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard and Eric Wieschaus, for which they were awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1995.[1][2]


EMBL groups and laboratories perform basic research in molecular biology and molecular medicine as well as training for scientists, students and visitors. The organization aids in the development of services, new instruments and methods, and technology in its member states.[citation needed]


Member country[3] Year of joining
 Austria 1974
 Belgium 1990
 Croatia 2006
 Czech Republic 2014
 Denmark 1974
 Finland 1984
 France 1974
 Germany 1974
 Greece 1984
 Iceland 2005
 Ireland 2003
 Israel 1974
 Italy 1974
 Luxembourg 2007
 Netherlands 1974
 Norway 1985
 Portugal 1998
 Spain 1986
 Sweden 1974
  Switzerland 1974
 United Kingdom 1974
Prospect Member State
 Hungary 2014[4]
 Poland 2014[5]
 Slovakia 2014[6]
Associate member
 Argentina 2014[7]
 Australia 2008


Advanced training is one of EMBL's four core missions. Over the years, the Laboratory has established a number of training activities, of which the EMBL International PhD Programme (EIPP) is the flagship - it has a student body of about 200, and since 1997 has had the right to award its own degree. Other activities include the postdoctoral programme, including the EMBL Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral programme (EIPOD); the European Learning Laboratory for the Life Sciences (ELLS) for teacher training; and the Visitor Programme.[8]

EMBL Advanced Training Centre[edit]

In March 2010, the EMBL Advanced Training Centre (ATC) was inaugurated on the main campus in Heidelberg. Shaped in the form of a double helix,[9] it hosts conferences and provides training.

Science and Society[edit]

EMBL also runs an active Science and Society Programme which offers activities and events on current questions in life science research for the general public and the scientific community.[10]

See also[edit]

The EMBL Heidelberg buildings, including the new Advanced Training Centre

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard Curriculum Vitae, Nobel prize website
  2. ^ Eric Wieschaus Curriculum Vitae, Nobel prize website
  3. ^ "EMBL Member State". 
  4. ^ "Hungary joins EMBL as prospect member state". 
  5. ^ "Witamy! EMBL welcomes Poland as prospect member state". 
  6. ^ "Slovak Republic becomes EMBL Prospect Member State". 
  7. ^ "Argentina joins EMBL as associate member state". 
  8. ^ Training at EMBL, EMBL website
  9. ^ University of Heidelberg — Press Releases
  10. ^ Science and Society Programme, EMBL website

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 49°23′4.64″N 8°42′36.51″E / 49.3846222°N 8.7101417°E / 49.3846222; 8.7101417