Some of the most pressing challenges biomedical research is facing today are global: understanding complex diseases, harnessing the potential of new (high-throughput) technologies and driving forward the development of preventative and personalized approaches to medicine. Effective solutions to such global challenges require an interdisciplinary and cross-border approach. International collaboration enables the building of critical mass and sharing of best practices. It optimizes the use of available resources by preventing duplication of efforts and infrastructure. In this spirit EMBL, Europe’s leading research institute in molecular biology, and Stanford University, an internationally renowned center in research and education, have established the Life Science Alliance. Building on complementary strengths of the partner organizations and on ongoing collaborative efforts in the fields of genomics, biological imaging and structural biology, the Alliance intends to create an interdisciplinary research network for the benefit of the life science communities worldwide.

Bridging Excellence

Today’s life sciences are set in a turbulent, rapidly changing environment that requires the combined capabilities and expertise of the scientific community. The pace of scientific and technological advances depends on the integration of knowledge. Equipping members of the community with the capacity to tackle scientific questions across levels of biological complexity and closer interactions of diverging research communities will contribute to a better understanding of biological systems, and drive forward innovation. By bringing together members of the communities at the Stanford School of Medicine and EMBL, the Alliance aims to break down knowledge barriers between the separate research communities and to create synergies, allowing them to enrich the scientific community and to capitalize on each other’s advances in the field.


Integrating knowledge for the advancement of revolutionary biomedical research


The Life Science Alliance is headed by Lars Steinmetz, a Professor of Genetics at Stanford University and Senior Scientist in the Genome Biology Unit at EMBL. As Director of the Alliance, he serves as link between the Stanford School of Medicine, headed by the Carl and Elizabeth Naumann Dean Lloyd Minor and the EMBL, headed by Director General Iain Mattaj. In collaboration with the Steering Committee, Lars oversees all ongoing activities and projects. The Steering Committee plays a vital role in setting the strategic direction for the Alliance and for advising on activities across both institutions.

Steering Committee

Russ Altman (Stanford)

Jan Ellenberg (EMBL)

Michael Snyder (Stanford)

Ami Bhatt (Stanford)

Keith Hodgson (Stanford)

Lars Steinmetz (Stanford / EMBL)

Peer Bork (EMBL)

Silke Schumacher (EMBL)

Matthias Wilmanns (EMBL)


The Alliance aims to increase efficiency and productivity in research, and make best practices available to others. For this, the Alliance seeks to initiate ambitious projects, foster participation in cross-institutional activities and provide support to its members. The Alliance is dedicated to facilitating cross-institutional knowledge transfer, enabling high risk l high gain projects, and sharing expertise and cooperation. At the heart of the Alliance is a deep commitment to challenging research goals and bold ideas, and to making a difference in current research.

Selected research projects

Lars Steinmetz, Carolyn Bertozzi

As part of the international Grace Science Foundation consortium, Drs. Bertozzi and Steinmetz are working towards understanding and finding therapeutic strategies to treat NGLY1 deficiency, a rare childhood disorder.


Matthias Wilmanns, Keith Hodgson

Drs. Keith Hodgson and Matthias Wilmanns are working together to promote cooperation in various fields of integrative structural biology.                                                                       



Enhancing potential to accelerate progress and scientific discovery.


The joint Stanford | EMBL Personalized Health Conference Series addresses the promises and challenges of bringing basic research in systems biology into medical practice. Organized through the Life Science Alliance, the series assembles leading basic and clinical researchers to share and discuss the latest efforts towards molecular approaches to personalized health.


Personalized Health Conference 2019

14-16. November 2019

EMBL, Heidelberg, Germany


Opportunistic RNAs and acquisitive genomes

Andrew Fire - Professor of Pathology and Genetics, Stanford University School of Medicine

Wednesday, 18. April 2018, 16:00, Large Operon, EMBL Heidelberg, Germany


Personalized Health 2017

01-04 Nov 2017, Stanford, USA

Scientific Organizers:

Lars Steinmetz
EMBL Heidelberg, Germany & Stanford University, USA

Judith Zaugg
EMBL Heidelberg, Germany

Michael Snyder
Stanford University, USA

Russ Altman
Stanford University, USA

Personalized Health 2015

16-19 Nov 2015, Heidelberg, Germany

Scientific Organizers:

Lars Steinmetz
EMBL Heidelberg, Germany & Stanford University, USA

Judith Zaugg
EMBL Heidelberg, Germany

Michael Snyder
Stanford University, USA

Wolfgang Huber
EMBL Heidelberg, Germany

Peer Bork
EMBL Heidelberg, Germany

Jan Ellenberg
EMBL Heidelberg, Germany


Stanford | EMBL Life Science Alliance
Meyerhofstr. 1
69117 Heidelberg



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