The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) is one of the world’s leading research institutions, and Europe’s flagship laboratory for the life sciences. EMBL is an intergovernmental organisation specialising in basic research in the life sciences, funded by public research monies from more than 20 member states, including much of Europe and Israel, and two associate members, Argentina and Australia. EMBL is led by the Director General, currently Professor Iain Mattaj, appointed by the governing body, EMBL Council. The Council is comprised of representatives of all member and associate member states. EMBL operates from five sites across Europe: • Heidelberg, Germany - main laboratory • Hinxton, UK - European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) • Grenoble, France - research and services for structural biology • Hamburg, Germany - research and services for structural biology • Monterotondo, Italy - mouse biology Currently, the MMPU has more than 100 internationally recruited members, divided into eight research groups whose research themes all address common disease entities, including the diseases of childhood and adolescence such as blood disorders and cancers, chronic lung diseases (in particular cystic fibrosis), and ‘adult disorders’ such as hemochromatosis and colorectal cancer. Every MMPU group is co-staffed by EMBL and the Medical Faculty; the directorship is shared by Andreas Kulozik (University of Heidelberg) and Matthias Hentze (EMBL Director). The MMPU brings together the expertise of both partners in a complementary manner to bridge the gap between basic and medical research. Outstanding training is available at multiple levels: PhD students, postdocs and visiting scientists. EMBL hosts a comprehensive schedule of courses, conferences and workshops, many organised in collaboration with EMBLs sister organisation, EMBO (short for European Molecular Biology Organization). Additionally, the Laboratory offers a platform for dialogue with the general public through various science communication activities such as lecture series, public visitor programmes and the dissemination of scientific achievements. Research at EMBL emphasises experimental analysis at multiple levels of biological organisation, from the molecule to the organism, as well as computational biology, bioinformatics and systems biology. Research is conducted by more than 80 independent groups covering the spectrum of molecular biology. EMBL is international, innovative and interdisciplinary. Its 1600 employees from many nations represent scientific disciplines including biology, physics, chemistry and computer science. Services provided by EMBL include: • core biomolecular databases and bioinformatics tools, particularly at EMBL-EBI; • the provision of beamlines, instrumentation and high-throughput technology for structural biology at the Hamburg and Grenoble oustations; • Core Facilities, which provide cost-effective and efficient access to methods and technologies that are expensive to set up or maintain, or that require considerable expense.