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Joining forces

EMBL is one of the world-leading research institutes in the life sciences. It is a recognised centre of excellence and the birthplace of many dazzling scientific discoveries that have shaped our understanding of life and will go on to change the future of medicine. To be a part of these extraordinary achievements and to directly impact on the future of the life sciences, we invite you to join the Friends of EMBL

Into the future

The 21st century has been widely proclaimed as the ‘century of the life sciences’ and research in these areas is expected to profoundly improve the ways in which we live. Not only will the life sciences reshuffle the demographic and individual outlook of Western societies as they help us live longer and better, they will also address the big challenges of mankind – understanding the complexities and preserving the variety of life on our planet, climate change, famine, as well as ecological and safe energy resources. Because the life sciences will reshape how we live together, the general public, politicians, businesses and industry must get involved, understand the crucial processes, and have an active role in guiding the direction of these developments.

Basic science at EMBL
enables new therapies

Genomics and disease

The human genome is a complete set of instructions for the development of a human being that is carried in almost every one of our hundred trillion cells.

Genomics research is the fastest growing field at EMBL and cuts across several EMBL research disciplines and locations. A key aspect is the impact of genetic variation, which EMBL scientists study from several different angles:

Variation between the genomes of different individuals or species is fundamental to why we differ from one another.

Variation between genomes over time tells us about evolution and the origin of our species.

Some variations lead to disease and the study of these variations can be used to understand and thereby cure a number of serious genetic diseases including cancer. As such, genomics is essential to the development of personalised medicines.

The central idea of biological evolution is that all life on Earth has gradually developed from a common ancestor, who gave rise to the fantastic diversity and remarkable adaptability that we see around us today. Evolution means that we are all distant cousins: humans and oak trees, butterflies and whales. This also means that by studying simple, primitive organisms, we can gain valuable clues about sophisticated components of the human body such as the central nervous system.

The key to evolution is genetic variation but there is a fine line between genetic variation that leads to evolutionary adaptation, and that which leads to abnormalities and disease. Many interesting clues are revealed in the study of these differences.

A number of extraordinary projects at EMBL Heidelberg are looking into the origin of complex human organs and the EMBL-EBI outstation in Hinxton, UK is applying highly advanced computational tools to process huge amounts of data for evolutionary evaluation.

One of the most fundamental questions in biology is how an organism as complex as a human being, with its highly developed organs and sophisticated cell types, can develop from just one cell. Crucial questions still remain unanswered, including how the future role of a cell is determined and how its specialisation into, for example, a nerve cell, muscle cell or blood cell is controlled. The mechanisms behind these changes in the early embryo are still some of the greatest mysteries of our time.

Using various model organisms, researchers at EMBL are studying the range of precisely coordinated and orchestrated cellular processes that lead a fertilised egg through embryonic development to a fully formed organism.

Using EMBL’s advanced imaging technologies, EMBL scientists are able to visualise and study these elusive first steps of life, such as the very first cell divisions and the beginning of specialisation in the different cells of the embryo. A detailed understanding of these fascinating processes should enable us to trace back embryonic development to its very beginnings and gain fundamental insights into how mistakes in development can cause infertility or severe congenital diseases.

The human brain and spinal cord form the most advanced central nervous system in evolution. It integrates and processes information from all parts of the body and controls biological functions including movement, behaviour, the senses, learning and memory.

Neurobiologists at EMBL study how the human nervous system has evolved over millions of years and its development, structure and function. Current projects led by EMBL scientists include:

The study of complex human emotions such as fear and its pathological counterpart, anxiety.

Early patterning of brain circuits and diseases associated with defects in this phase of embryonic brain development.

The function of different cell types in the human brain.

Ultimately, this research aims to complete the picture of human neurobiology and contribute to the search for effective therapies for devastating neuronal diseases.

Infectious diseases are caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi or single-celled parasites such as malaria invading the body. Once acquired, an infectious disease can be passed on from one person (or animal) to another. Despite great progress in combating these infections through the development of vaccines, antibiotics and preventative measures, enormous challenges remain due to poor efficacy, the development of resistance and the emergence of novel disease-causing organisms.

At EMBL, ground-breaking work is delivering a better understanding of these disease-causing microorganisms and their mechanisms of infection. This knowledge will provide invaluable tools for the development of treatment options in the future.

For example, thanks to ongoing fundamental research on the influenza virus at EMBL, a new generation of anti-influenza drugs is now under development. Similar breakthroughs have been made in projects focusing on the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and tuberculosis.

Discover life

the difference you can make

Potential that will benefit mankind

EMBL’s research is funded by its member states, which provides a solid basis for the pioneering science it is renowned for. Nevertheless, our dedication and potential to drive new and important projects could be enhanced even further. With your additional support, we could revisit missed opportunities and successfully complete projects of high scientific and social relevance.

More enthusiasm for life

EMBL re­se­ar­chers are on a con­stant quest to dis­co­ver mo­re about the sci­ence of life. To ma­ke this fa­sci­na­ti­on ac­ces­si­ble to a broad and pu­blic au­di­ence, EMBL holds a num­ber of events as part of the Fri­ends of EMBL an­nu­al programme. We in­vi­te you to par­ti­ci­pa­te in the­se events and pass on the in­spi­ra­ti­on you re­cei­ve to your own net­works. By do­ing so, you are ma­king a key cont­ri­bu­ti­on to our cause.

The potential of the life sciences to change the planet is just emerging but already, six out of ten pharmaceuticals sold worldwide have been developed applying molecular techniques. By joining the Friends of EMBL, your support will have a sustained long-term impact. Most breakthroughs in the life sciences affect the lives of millions, so your support will truly change the world in realms far beyond the successes of individual researchers or laboratories.

Three good reasons

to join the Friends of EMBL


Innovation cannot take place without basic science. The life sciences will engender the next generation of technologies revolutionizing medicine, health care, agriculture and shaping our response to climate change. As a Friend of EMBL, you will actively drive these innovative forces and make a personal contribution to progress.


EMBL is one of the world’s leading research institutes and is Europe’s premier driver of research technology and innovation in the life sciences. As a Friend of EMBL, you will be part of this community of excellence.


EMBL is rich in ideas and great scientists. As a Friend of EMBL, you will help to nurture this potential and pave the way to new discoveries.

The Friends of EMBL membership options

Friends of EMBL

Together we can achieve the extraordinary: Friends of EMBL assist EMBL scientists in their quest to unravel the remaining mysteries of life. With your annual donation of 1,000 Euro or more, you are enabling answers to elementary questions in the life sciences.

Without these answers, new diagnostics and therapies for ailments and diseases that are currently impervious to medical treatment cannot be developed.

If you have the desire and opportunity to make your support even more effective, we would be more than happy to tailor a membership option specifically to you and your vision.

As a thank you for your support, Friends of EMBL are:

At the heart of
the life sciences:
with the Friends of EMBL
Well entertained:
at public and private
Friends of EMBL events
Publicly recognised:
in our Annual Report
and on our website

EMBL Teens

Bursting with life: Biology and scientific research does not have to be a riddle wrapped up in an enigma. As an EMBL Teen you will find out, for example, how by employing DNA we could store all the digital data collected worldwide in the back of a van, how nature has brought about its endless

variety and functionality, and what purpose bacteria – our secret companions – fulfil in our lives.

EMBL Teens get the chance to look at science from a different angle, just in exchange for their passion and their interest!

As EMBL Teens you are

Hard-wired to science:
with the Friends of EMBL Newsletter
Learning about life
over Coke and popcorn
at the Friends of EMBL Science Movie Night

Business Friends of EMBL

Where excellence matters: In life, in business and in science, only those with the highest standards endure and succeed. This is the secret to EMBL’s achievements and without doubt it is yours as well.

For businesses that share this principle we offer the Business Friends of EMBL membership. For an annual donation of 5,000 Euro, your business will be associated with the most important scientific breakthroughs and renowned researchers.

If you and your business would like to support innovation even more effectively, you can make a financial contribution that exceeds the Friends of EMBL membership fee. Please contact us to talk about the different options.

As Business Friends of EMBL you are:

Always welcome:
at our public events and those specifically tailored to Business Friends of EMBL
Always well informed:
about the latest developments at EMBL via our newsletter
Always visible:
at all our Friends of EMBL events, in our Annual Report and on our webpage

Our thank you

Your support as a Friend of EMBL is priceless. Through the Friends of EMBL annual programme we aspire to engage you – our Friends – not only intellectually but also with a good dose of prestige and entertainment.

We thank our generous donors by offering unique insights into the world of science. Events in the Friends of EMBL annual programme range from regular updates on scientific progress made by EMBL and other scientists – in the form

of our quarterly Friends of EMBL Newsletter – to public and private invitations, through to such highlights as the esta­blis­hment of a personal connection between you, EMBL scientists and their research projects.

Come and join us at our EMBL Ladies’ Nights, Science Movie Nights, hand-picked conferences and the bi-annual EMBL Gala, just to name a few of the possibilities open
to you.

Annual programme 2019

Show programmehide programme

20 February: EMBL Reception. You are cordially invited to the EMBL Reception in the double helix of EMBL’s Advanced Training Centre. Meet representatives of our directorate, EMBL employees and other Friends of EMBL. A traditional Friends of EMBL Lecture will introduce you to another exciting life sciences topic, thus complementing this special event.

31 March: Business Friends of EMBL Brunch. On a March Sunday morning, we invite the Business Friends of EMBL to a cosy brunch. On the spectacular premises of the EMBL Heidelberg campus, you and your employees or business partners can enjoy a comprehensive programme for the whole family. Hear from EMBL scientists how they unravel the secrets of life and enjoy the breathtaking view from our Rooftop Lounge in a relaxed atmosphere.

16 May: EMBL Science Movie Night. In the next edition of this Friends of EMBL event series, EMBL scientists will again help you separate reality from fantasy in a Hollywood science fiction movie classic. It is a one-time opportunity to find out how much real science is behind the script. The uptake of biological knowledge has rarely been so entertaining!

17 July: EMBL PhD Lunch. Our PhD students invite you for lunch in the Executive Lounge of EMBL Heidelberg. A group of pre-docs from various EMBL research departments look forward to sharing with you some of their successes and challenges in everyday life at EMBL by showcasing their current research projects. This is your best chance at a truly authentic EMBL experience.

27 September: Researchers’ Night. EMBL is opening its doors to the public and invites visitors to explore the world of life sciences. An entertaining programme is waiting for you, highlighting exciting developments in EMBL research.

24-25 October: Science & Society Conference. The annual Science and Society Conferences take place at the EMBL Advanced Training Centre and address the impact of scientific findings and trends on a person and society. For these symposia EMBL invites researchers from many different disciplines from all over the world to discuss the relevant aspects of a chosen topic, this time “Science and Storytelling: From facts to fictions”, in a manner that is easily accessible to a broad audience.

14 November: EMBL Women‘s Night. For all those who live and breathe networking and who think that the world can only profit from better connected women. Join us for an inspiring and social evening, together with other female ambassadors from science, business and politics, and experience the sunset over EMBL‘s rooftops.

December: EMBL Insight Lecture. Once a year, EMBL scientists give a lecture that is specifically tailored to a young audience. Topics embrace current EMBL research projects from life sciences, which are presented in interactive and engaging ways.


Yes, I would like to support EMBL
and join the Friends of EMBL circle!

Please choose one of the following membership options (all members will receive the Friends of EMBL newsletter):

The Friends of EMBL

Who are the members?
  • Honorary Membership
  • Theresia Bauer,

    Minister of Science, Research and the Arts, Baden-Württemberg

  • Dr. h.c. Manfred Lautenschläger

Friends of EMBL

Business Friends of EMBL

  • Dr Alexandra Budde and
    Dr Florian Budde
  • Antje Conzelmann and
    Jürgen Conzelmann
  • Dr Helga Drews and
    Dr Jürgen Drews
  • Dr John Feldmann
  • Dr Manfred Fuchs
  • Sabine Gora and
    Alexander Gora
  • Renate Junge and
    Michael Junge
  • Thomas Kern
  • Monika Marlene Kley
    and Max Dietrich Kley
  • Angelika Lautenschläger
  • Barbara Mancini and
    Dr Benedikt Mancini
  • Dr Hedwig Runnebaum
    and Prof Dr Dr Benno Runnebaum
  • Dr Manfred Schüßler
  • Klaus Ziegler
  • Anonymous
    (several donors wish to remain anonymous)

Contact and Newsletter

Send us a message

Friends of EMBL Newsletter


Barbara Solich

Tel: +49 6221 387 8925

European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)

Meyerhofstraße 1

69117 Heidelberg