Maria Leptin
Maria Leptin
Current position
President of the European Research Council (took office from 1 November 2021)

Prof. Maria Leptin has been the President of the European Research Council (ERC) since November 2021 and chairs the ERC’s governing body, the ERC Scientific Council. She is a biologist best known for her work on the mechanisms that allow a developing body to take on its correct shape.

After her studies in mathematics and biology at the University of Bonn and the University of Heidelberg, Germany, Maria Leptin carried out her PhD research at the Basel Institute for Immunology, Switzerland. She then moved to the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK, became a group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, Germany, and professor at the Institute of Genetics, University of Cologne, Germany. She spent extended research periods and sabbaticals at the University of California, San Francisco, USA, the École Normale Supérieure, Paris, France, and at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, UK.

Before her appointment as ERC President, Maria Leptin was the Director of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) in Heidelberg, and a research group leader at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory.

She is an elected member of EMBO, the Academia Europaea and the German National Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina). She is an Honorary Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, a Foreign Member of the Royal Society and an international member of the US National Academy of Sciences. 

Portrait image © Michael Wodak / MedizinFotoKöln, 2021

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A selection of speeches


Speech to the European Parliament's ITRE Committee 
29 November 2022

Speech at European Academy of Sciences ceremony
24 October 2022

Speech at the Nordic University Days with Nordic Rectors, Brussels
27 September 2022

See all speeches