EMBL research units

Research groups at EMBL are organised into nine units spanning six European sites.

The European Molecular Biology Laboratory is made up of many independent groups of research scientists, who work on a wide range of biological topics. EMBL categorises these groups by area of scientific interest into nine research units. This structure helps EMBL scientists working on similar scientific questions to leverage common tools and experimental apparatus.

The Laboratory's tightly-knit community also helps researchers to work together on themes of common interest, sharing ideas across research units in a cooperative and multidisciplinary research environment.

Research Units

Bioinformatics research

Researchers at EMBL-EBI make sense of vast, complex biological datasets produced using new and emerging technologies in molecular biology.

Cell biology and biophysics

Scientists in this unit use multidisciplinary approaches to investigate the molecular and biophysical mechanisms that enable cells to function.

Developmental biology

Research in the Developmental Biology Unit is focused on understanding the origin, development, and evolution of organisms and their communities.

Directors' research

This unit covers thematically distinct research groups, headed by EMBL and EMBO leadership.

Genome biology

Scientists in the Genome Biology Unit use and develop cutting-edge methods to study how information across different molecular layers (DNA, RNA, Proteins, metabolites) are regulated, processed, and utilised, and how their variation leads to different phenotypes, including disease.

Structural and computational biology

Scientists in this unit use integrated structural and computational techniques to study biology at scales from molecular structures to organismal communities.

Structural biology

At its sites in Hamburg and Grenoble, EMBL provides its researchers and hundreds of external users each year with access to world-leading sources of X-ray and cryo-electron microscopy facilities, enabling them to study the structures of biological molecules.

Tissue biology and disease modelling

Scientists at EMBL Barcelona use advanced technologies to observe, manipulate, and model how changes in genes percolate through cells, tissues, and organs, in health and disease.

From genes to whole organisms, from biochemistry to computational biology, EMBL’s diverse research programme is pushing the limits of our biological knowledge. EMBL researchers are inventing cutting-edge experimental techniques and technologies to further explore the secrets of life.