Maria Leptin

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Maria Leptin (born September 15, 1954 in Hamburg ) is a German biologist and immunologist . She heads research groups at the Institute for Genetics at the University of Cologne and at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg . In 2012 she was appointed director of the European Molecular Biology Organization .


After completing her studies in mathematics and biology at the University of Bonn and Heidelberg University , she moved to the Basel Institute for Immunology in Switzerland . There she studied the activation of B-lymphocytes from 1979 to 1983 under the direction of Fritz Melchers and received her Ph.D.

In 1984 she joined as a postdoctoral researcher at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology , Cambridge , where she continued her studies at the Drosophila - morphogenesis , began involved in embryonic development in the laboratory of Michael Wilcox. This work laid the foundation for her further work in molecular morphogenesis. In 1988 Maria Leptin became a research assistant at this same institute.

In 1989 she was a visiting researcher in Pat O'Farrell's laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) for 3 months . This was the starting point for her further research on gastrulation . After this experience she worked at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, where she worked as a group leader between 1989 and 1994.

In 1994 Maria Leptin became professor at the Institute for Genetics at the University of Cologne, where she leads a research group.

She was also a visiting professor at the École normal supérieure in Paris (2001) and a visiting researcher at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (2004–2005).

She has been a member of the Academia Europaea since 1998 . On May 25, 2016 she was elected a member ( matriculation number 7691 ) of the German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina .

EMBO director

In 2010 Maria Leptin was appointed Director of the European Molecular Biology Organization. At the same time she started a research group in Heidelberg at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). The group studies the development of complex cell shapes in the respiratory system of the Drosophila.

Maria Leptin is the first woman to be elected head of EMBO.


  • Leopoldina Newly Elected Members 2016, Leopoldina, Halle (Saale) 2017, p. 26 ( PDF )

Individual evidence

  1. Maria Leptin - a scientist at the top of Europe . Retrieved November 25, 2013.
  2. ^ Website of Maria Leptin's research group
  3. ^ Membership directory: Maria Leptin. Academia Europaea, accessed July 4, 2017 .
  4. ^ Member entry by Maria Leptin at the German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina , accessed on June 23, 2016.
  5. ^ Maria Leptin appointed next Director of EMBO. EMBO, September 30, 2009, accessed July 11, 2015 .
  6. ^ Professor Maria Leptin, EMBO Director. EMBO, accessed July 11, 2015 .