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DKFZ and EMBL intensify cooperation

No. 02a | 20/01/2021 | by Koh

The development of new strategies for processing and analysing life science data, the further development of scientific imaging, the search for new active substances for drugs: These are the tasks that the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) want to tackle together in the future. The two research institutions, which are among the international leaders in their fields, have now signed a joint Memorandum of Understanding to intensify their cooperation.


The research spectra of the two Heidelberg-based institutions are closely intertwined: EMBL covers broad areas of molecular biology at the highest scientific level and researches the fundamental processes of life. The expertise of the internationally renowned DKFZ researchers ranges from basic cancer research, which is strongly influenced by molecular biology, to all steps of translation and early clinical trials. "Our research interests coincide in so many areas and this is precisely why we want to combine our scientific strengths in the future," says Edith Heard, Director General of EMBL. Michael Baumann, Chairman of the Board of DKFZ, adds: "We want to facilitate the exchange of research data, share technology platforms and offer talented young scientists the opportunity to conduct research at both institutions."

EMBL and DKFZ have already been successfully collaborating in some research areas, for example in chemical biology for the development of new active substances or in the evaluation of tumour genome sequencing data. This cooperation is now to be considerably expanded and intensified. Further joint research interests exist in particular in the area of developing new AI applications for medicine and life sciences. The further development of innovative scientific imaging techniques as well as molecular single-cell analyses that can depict the evolution of cancer tumours are also to be jointly advanced in the future.

With more than 3,000 employees, the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) is Germany’s largest biomedical research institute. DKFZ scientists identify cancer risk factors, investigate how cancer progresses and develop new cancer prevention strategies. They are also developing new methods to diagnose tumors more precisely and treat cancer patients more successfully. The DKFZ's Cancer Information Service (KID) provides patients, interested citizens and experts with individual answers to questions relating to cancer.

To transfer promising approaches from cancer research to the clinic and thus improve the prognosis of cancer patients, the DKFZ cooperates with excellent research institutions and university hospitals throughout Germany:

  • National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT, 6 sites)
  • German Cancer Consortium (DKTK, 8 sites)
  • Hopp Children's Cancer Center (KiTZ) Heidelberg
  • Helmholtz Institute for Translational Oncology (HI-TRON Mainz) - A Helmholtz Institute of the DKFZ
  • DKFZ-Hector Cancer Institute at the University Medical Center Mannheim
  • National Cancer Prevention Center (jointly with German Cancer Aid)
The DKFZ is 90 percent financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and 10 percent by the state of Baden-Württemberg. The DKFZ is a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers.


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