Professor Maria Leptin, EMBO Director
Maria Leptin received her PhD in 1983 for work on B cell activation carried out at the Basel Institute for Immunology under the supervision of Fritz Melchers. She switched to the study of development in Drosophila when she joined the laboratory of Michael Wilcox at the Medical Research Council’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) in Cambridge, UK, for her postdoctoral work on Drosophila integrins. After a research visit at the lab of Pat O’Farrell at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), where she began studying gastrulation, she spent the years from 1989 to 1994 as a group leader at the Max Planck Institute in Tübingen. In 1994, she became Professor at the Institute of Genetics University of Cologne.
In January 2010 Maria Leptin became the Director of EMBO and established 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 Drosophila and the role of RNA localisation in generating cell shape. Professor Leptin is an elected member of EMBO, the Academia Europaea and the German National Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina). She also serves on the editorial boards of Developmental Cell, Developmental Biology and on advisory boards of several academic institutions.