European Molecular Biology Organization

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The European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO)
EMBO Logo.png
Motto “excellence in the life sciences”
Formation 1964
Purpose Promote life science research in Europe
Headquarters Heidelberg, Germany [1]
1700 members[2][3]
Maria Leptin[1]

The European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) is a professional organization of life scientists in Europe. Its goal is to promote research in life science and enable international exchange between scientists. It organizes courses, workshops and conferences, publishes four scientific journals and supports individual scientists and projects. The organization was founded in 1964 and is a founding member of the Initiative for Science in Europe. The current EMBO Director is Maria Leptin,[1][4] a developmental biologist at the University of Cologne, Germany.


The European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) was officially launched in July 1964 after a group of European biologists had discussed the idea earlier at a meeting Ravello.[5] In that meeting, the initial goals of EMBO were set, which consisted of creating a central European laboratory for life sciences and increase scientific interactions between researchers in Europe.[5] At the Ravello meeting, Max Perutz was elected as the first EMBO Chairman and John Kendrew as Secretary General.[5]

Initially, 140 biologists were elected EMBO members and in 1969, the European Molecular Biology Conference (EMBC) was set up as a political body with 14 countries as initial members.[5] Since 1964,[6] scientists have been elected annually as members of EMBO[7] based on excellence in research. There are currently more than 1700 Members of the European Molecular Biology Organization, 84 of whom have received the Nobel Prize.[8] The EMBC has now 29 member states.[9]

In 1982, the EMBO Journal was launched, in 1986, the EMBO Gold Medal was established, an annual award for young scientists. The "Young Investigator Program" which awards grants to young professors was established in 2000 and three additional journals were launched in 2000 (EMBO Reports), 2005 (Molecular Systems Biology) and 2008 (EMBO Molecular Medicine). In 2009, Maria Leptin was appointed fifth Director of EMBO.[10]

In 2011, EMBO established the "Science Policy Programme" which interacts with policy makers and provides analysis of concerns emerging from advances in scientific research.

EMBO conferences and journals[edit]

EMBO organises over 80 meetings attracting more than 10,000 participants every year[11] including the annual EMBO meeting where over 1000 researchers participate.[12]

EMBO publishes four peer-reviewed journals: The EMBO Journal,[13] EMBO Reports,[14] Molecular Systems Biology,[15] and EMBO Molecular Medicine.[16] These span a broad spectrum of molecular biology topics.

EMBO Awards and Fellowships[edit]

Annually awarded, the EMBO Gold Medal recognises significant contributions of European researchers to the advancement of science. EMBO also awards grants to scientists. These include post-doctoral fellowships (over 2500 fellowships awarded since 2001), young investigator grants (over 300 group leader grants awarded since 2001) and travel grants.[11][17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Council". Retrieved 2015-12-04. 
  2. ^ Ashburner, Michael (1993). "EMBO membership list". The EMBO Journal 12 (2): i23–i44. PMC 413273. 
  3. ^ "EMBO membership list". The EMBO Journal 2 (4): 627–636. 1983. PMID 6354705. 
  4. ^ Leptin, M. (2010). "Spreading the Spirit of EMBO". Science 327 (5962): 126–126. Bibcode:2010Sci...327..126L. doi:10.1126/science.1185865. PMID 20056858. 
  5. ^ a b c d "History". Retrieved 2015-12-04. 
  6. ^ Nurse, P. (2014). "EMBO at 50". Science 343 (6167): 117. Bibcode:2014Sci...343..117N. doi:10.1126/science.1247701. 
  7. ^ Find an EMBO member
  8. ^ EMBO Nobel Laureates
  9. ^ "European Molecular Biology Conference (EMBC)". Retrieved 7 July 2016. 
  10. ^ "Timeline". Retrieved 2015-12-04. 
  11. ^ a b "" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-12-04. 
  12. ^ Anon (2014). "The EMBO Meeting". European Molecular Biology Organization. Archived from the original on 2014-12-18. 
  13. ^ Rørth, P. (2005). "Authors, reviewers and editors at the EMBO Journal". The EMBO Journal 24 (22): 3831–3833. doi:10.1038/sj.emboj.7600851. PMC 1283950. PMID 16453402. 
  14. ^ Gannon, F. (2000). "A new journal-in more than one way". EMBO Reports 1: 1. doi:10.1093/embo-reports/kvd007. 
  15. ^ Aebersold, R. (2005). "Molecular Systems Biology: A new journal for a new biology?". Molecular Systems Biology 1: E1. doi:10.1038/msb4100009. 
  16. ^ Caldeira, S. (2009). "Welcome to EMBO Molecular Medicine!". EMBO Molecular Medicine 1 (1): 1. doi:10.1002/emmm.200900010. PMC 3378109. PMID 20049694. 
  17. ^


  • Georgina Ferry, EMBO in perspective: a half-century in the life sciences, 2014, 145 pages.