Study of Biology, Chemistry, Physics in Frankfurt/M, Diploma in Biochemistry, University of Tübingen 1969. PhD (Genetics) Tübingen, 1973.
Postdoc in the laboratories of Walter Gehring, Basel and Klaus Sander (Freiburg). Group leader at the EMBL, Heidelberg (1978-1981) and the FML of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft in Tübingen (1980- 1984).
Since 1985, Director at the Max-Planck-Institute of Developmental Biology, Tübingen. Her research interests concern the molecular and genetic analysis of embryonic development.
The research presently focuses on the establishment of cell polarity in Drosophila, and organ formation, growth and cell migration in the zebrafish, a new vertebrate model organism.
For the discovery of genes that control development in animals and humans, and the demonstration of morphogen gradients in the fly embryo she has received a number of awards and honors, among others the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award, New York, the Prix Louis Jeantet de Medicine, Geneva, Switzerland, the Ernst Schering Price, Berlin, and the Nobel Price for Medicine or Physiology in 1995.
She is recipient of honorary degrees of the Universities Yale, Harvard, Princeton in USA, Utrecht (the Netherlands), UC London, of Oxford and Sheffield, UK, Freiburg and Munich (Germany).
She is foreign member of the Royal Society, London, UK, and the National Academy, Wash. US, and member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO), the Leopoldina, Halle, the Berlin/Brandenburg Academy, the Order Pour Le Mérite, Berlin, Kurie der Wissenschaft, Vienna and the Académie des Sciences, Paris.
She is secretary general of EMBO and member of the Senate of the Max-Planck-Society and the National Ethics Council of Germany and a member of the University Council, Tübingen.