EMBL Heidelberg

The main laboratory in Heidelberg was inaugurated in 1978 as the first EMBL facility dedicated to basic molecular biology research, technology development, service provision and advanced training.

Many scientific breakthroughs have been made at EMBL Heidelberg, including two which have been recognized with Nobel Prizes. Jacques Dubochet was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2017, for using vitrified water to prepare biological samples for electron microscopy, a technique that is still at the heart of cryo-electron microscopy. Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard and Erich Wieschaus conducted the first systematic genetic analysis of embryonic development in the fruit fly, for which they were awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1995.

EMBL Heidelberg: Timeline of key events

2010 - Official opening of the EMBL Advanced Training Centre in Heidelberg

2006 - Construction of the new Advanced Training Centre starts in Heidelberg

2001 - International Technology Transfer Center is built on Heidelberg campus.

1991 - Construction of EMBL's NMR facility begins.

1988 - EMBL's Operon conference centre and seminar facilities are built at Heidelberg. The first EMBL childcare facilities are opened.

1984 - Construction of EMBL guest houses for visiting scientists and newcomers begins.

1978 - Scientists move from temporary facilities into the newly completed laboratory at Heidelberg.

1975 - Construction of the Heidelberg laboratory begins.

1971 - Heidelberg is chosen as the site for EMBL's main laboratory.


EMBL Heidelberg
Meyerhofstraße 1
69117 Heidelberg

Phone: +49 6221 387-0
Fax: +49 6221 387-8306

General Enquiries


Research units

Today more than 800 staff members work at EMBL Heidelberg, in services and administration, and across five research units.

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

Scientists in the Developmental biology unit seek to understand the fundamental principles that govern multicellular development.

Directors' research

The Directors' research unit covers thematically distinct research groups, headed by EMBL and EMBO leadership.

Genome biology

The Genome biology unit uses and develops cutting-edge methods to study how the information in our genome is regulated, processed, and utilised, and how its alteration leads to 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.

Core facilities

Research at EMBL is supported by the development of enabling technologies that are made available to the scientific community in its Core facilities, eight of which are located at EMBL Heidlberg. Core facilities provide practical tools and expert advice for life scientists.


Heidelberg is the largest centre for biomedical research in Germany and home to the oldest German university, the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg.

Many bilateral links between scientists at EMBL and other Heidelberg research institutions have been established. In addition to bilateral collaborations, EMBL participates in several larger projects:

See all of EMBL's partnerships

Latest news

Research topics at EMBL Heidelberg



Analysing data to unravel biological complexity



Understanding how cells work and how they are organised



How single cells give rise to complex organisms

Latest jobs

Job opportunities at EMBL Heidelberg

See more jobs


At EMBL Barcelona, we study how tissues and organs develop and function in health and disease


EMBL's site in France is specialised in Structural Biology research, instrumentation development and services


EMBL Hamburg carries out research in structural and infection biology and provides related services


EMBL’s headquarters and host to five research units and scientific core facilities


EMBL-EBI provides open data resources that enable discovery, and performs research in Computational Biology


EMBL’s site in Italy is a centre for research in Epigenetics and Neurobiology