Obituary – Lennart Philipson

EMBL’s second Director General, Lennart Philipson, has died.

Lennart Philipson, 1929-2011.
Lennart Philipson, 1929-2011.

Lennart Philipson, who served as EMBL’s second Director General, has passed away. Lennart headed EMBL for over a decade between 1982-93, a crucial time for molecular biology when different scientific disciplines in the life sciences were becoming increasingly interlinked.

He reorganised the laboratory into new scientific and instrumentation units, with a profound impact on both scientific success and the development of innovative technologies in areas such as microscopy. Most influentially, he realised the power of bioinformatics approaches and ensured that EMBL became a stronghold of research and service activities in this area. He also insisted that turnover was key to the long-term success of the Laboratory and ensured that this principle was reflected throughout EMBL.

Throughout his career, Lennart was renowned for bringing together the right combinations of talent to achieve goals. He held a number of important positions on both sides of the Atlantic and was deeply passionate about the importance of basic research in the life sciences as an international activity.

Lennart will be fondly remembered as a great scientist, colleague and friend. He is survived by his wife Malin and family.

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