European Molecular Biology Laboratory


The European Molecular Biology Laboratory is a basic research institute funded by public research monies from 20 member states (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom) and associate member state Australia. The Laboratory has five units: the main Laboratory in Heidelberg, and Outstations in Hinxton (the European Bioinformatics Institute), Grenoble, Hamburg, and Monterotondo near Rome. The cornerstones of EMBL's mission are: to perform basic research in molecular biology; to train scientists, students and visitors at all levels; to offer vital services to scientists in the member states; to develop new instruments and methods in the life sciences and to actively engage in technology transfer activities. Additionally, the Laboratory offers a platform for dialogue with the general public through various science communication activities such as lecture series, visitor programmes and the dissemination of scientific achievements.

Research themes: Research at EMBL-Heidelberg focuses on molecular biology, and includes scientific units in genome biology, cell biology & biophysics, developmental biology, and structural & computational biology. Currently there are over 40 research groups and teams and over 900 members of staff.

Laboratories and equipment: Individual laboratories at EMBL-Heidelberg have extensive equipment related to molecular biology and molecular genetics. Additionally, there are state of the art core facilities for microscopy and image analysis, including confocal laser scanning microscopy, a high throughput DNA sequencing laboratory, a data centre for storage of molecular and imaging data, and a server farm for data analysis and image processing.

Marine facilities: EMBL-Heidelberg, though almost 500 km from the nearest coastline, has excellent facilities for maintaining marine organisms in temperature-, light-, salinity-, and pH-controlled conditions. These facilities are supported by filtered, partly recirculating, natural sea water obtained monthly from the North Sea. Marine husbandry also involves various food sources.

Main marine model organisms: Platynereis dumerilii, Branchiostoma lanceolatum, Patiria miniata.

Supervisory bodies: EMBL council

Complementary information: European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI). EMBL-EBI stores biological data, serves those data to the public, and undertakes research related to analyses of biological data. The EBI’s mission is: provide freely available data and bioinformatics services to all facets of the scientific community in ways that promote scientific progress; contribute to the advancement of biology through basic investigator-driven research in bioinformatics; provide advanced bioinformatics training to scientists at all levels, from PhD students to independent investigators; help disseminate cutting-edge technologies to industry; coordinate biological data provision across Europe.

What is the European Bioinformatics Institute?