EMBL Barcelona

We study how tissues and organs develop and function in health and disease

Scientists at EMBL Barcelona focus on tissue biology and disease modelling

Molecular biology underpins our understanding of life, but the human body is more than just a collection of incredible molecules and fascinating cell types. The correct functioning of our bodies also depends on a higher level of organisation: how millions of different cells interact with each other – chemically, physically and dynamically – to form healthy tissues and organs.

Keep reading about EMBL Barcelona's work

At EMBL Barcelona, we go beyond the molecular and cellular scale to ask questions such as:

  • How do thousands of cells dynamically self-organise to create tissues and organs?
  • Why does this sometimes go wrong, causing birth defects?
  • How could we repair damaged tissues?
  • Why does an efficient blood vessel depend on interactions between multiple different cell types?
  • How do infectious diseases attack tissues?
  • Can we engineer healthy or novel tissues in the laboratory?
  • How do the physical properties of tissues influence their dynamics?
  • Can we go beyond animal models, and use bio-engineered tissues to develop treatments for diseases such as cancer or malaria?

To tackle these grand challenges, we combine an interdisciplinary mix of approaches. We integrate molecular and cellular data with tissue engineering, multicellular omics, 3D mesoscopic imaging, computer modelling and gene circuits. Currently our research topics cover embryonic organoids, organ development, in vitro vascular models and disease modelling.

In this highly collaborative and international environment, EMBL researchers benefit from partnerships and collaborations with the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), and other pioneering research institutes, both on campus and in the region. Perched on the Barcelona seafront, and within walking distance of the city’s iconic architecture, the site is bathed in the energy of this bustling, creative metropolis.

The Head of EMBL Barcelona is Dr. James Sharpe.

We are part of the PRBB

Research groups

headshot of Maria Bernabeu

Bernabeu group

In vitro 3D blood-brain barrier model and cerebral malaria

headshot of Talya Dayton

Dayton group

Organoid models of neuroendocrine development and cancer

headshot of Kristina Haase

Haase group

Engineering vascularised tissue-specific disease models

Services and Facilities

Mesoscopic Imaging Facility

A pioneering tool that enables 3D imaging of biological tissues, combining the ability to capture fine details with the capacity to study relatively large samples for extended periods of time.



Understanding how cells work and how they are organised


How single cells give rise to complex organisms


Understanding the causes of disease to find new treatments

Fellowship and Funding opportunities

Contact and travel


Barcelona is a highly visited destination for tourists and hosts many events and conferences all year around.


EMBL Barcelona is located at the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB), on the seafront, in the Olympic Village of Barcelona.


General Enquiries
Email: info@embl.es
Phone: +34 936 282 700

Carla Manzanas
Email: media@embl.org
Phone: +34 691 12 32 53


EMBL Barcelona
C/ Dr. Aiguader, 88
PRBB Building
08003 Barcelona