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Maria Leptin appointed next Director of EMBO


Cologne geneticist to take over from current Director Hermann Bujard from January 2010.


HEIDELBERG, GERMANY, 30 SEPTEMBER 2009 - The European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) today announced the appointment of Professor Maria Leptin as the next EMBO Director from 1 January 2010. Maria Leptin will succeed Professor Hermann Bujard who retires from EMBO at the end of 2009 in order to devote more time to his own research interests.


As only the fifth director in the forty-five year history of EMBO, Maria Leptin will lead the execution of the many renowned programmes, activities and publications that recognize leading researchers, disseminate scientific information and foster talented scientists.


“I am thrilled to continue the initiatives begun by previous directors that promote the molecular life sciences in Europe and worldwide,” said Maria Leptin upon her acceptance as the next Director of EMBO. “EMBO plays a vital role in representing biological research – a role made possible through the organization’s extensive networks of respected leaders across the many fields of molecular biology.”


Maria Leptin is a developmental biologist and currently Professor at the Institute of Genetics, University of Cologne, Germany where she has led a research group since 1994. Upon taking up office at EMBO, she will establish a research group in Heidelberg at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). She will also maintain her laboratory at the University of Cologne.


An active and well-connected researcher, Maria Leptin has significant experience to draw
upon as she directs EMBO activities. The recipient of an EMBO Long-Term Fellowship to fund her early post-doctoral research, Maria understands the importance of mobility across borders for scientists as they move from PhD student to post-doc to group leader within the scientific community.


Her peers recognized Professor Leptin’s research achievements in 1996 when she was awarded life-long membership of EMBO. Maria currently serves on the EMBO Council, a group of 15 members who guide the organization’s activities. She has participated in committees that steer membership and scientific publication.


Maria looks forward to working closely with the committees, management and staff to extend the organization’s reach broadly within the global scientific community to assist students, post-docs and young group leaders, who may not yet be part of the EMBO community, as their careers progress. Maria is excited to further recent initiatives that aim to foster exchange between European researchers and those outside of Europe.


The first female scientist to be appointed EMBO Director, Maria Leptin will take up the position from Hermann Bujard who has been Director of EMBO since 2007. Previous directors were Raymond Appleyard (1965 - 1973), John Tooze (1973 - 1994) and Frank Gannon (1994 - 2007).


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Tilmann KießlingTilmann Kießling
Head, Communications
T. + 49 160 9019 3839