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Prof. Dr.

Jan Ellenberg

Year of election: 2018
Section: Genetics/Molecular Biology and Cell Biology
City: Heidelberg
Country: Germany
CV Jan Ellenberg - Deutsch (PDF)


Jan Ellenberg is distinguished for many contributions to the cell biology and imaging field. The majority of these were made at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) where he is Senior Scientist and Head of the Cell Biology and Biophysics Unit. His major research contributions cover several aspects of the cell division cycle and nuclear organization, including systematic analysis of mitosis, nuclear pore complex structure and assembly, as well as chromatin organization and formation and segregation of mitotic and meiotic chromosomes.

His goal has been to obtain structural and functional measures of the required molecular machinery inside cells using quantitative 4D imaging, single molecule spectroscopy, as well as light sheet and super-resolution microscopy, which his group is constantly developing and automating to address all molecular components comprehensively.

His research group played a key role in large EU-wide efforts on systems biology of mitosis, as well as microscopy automation and unbiased computational image analysis, (www.mitocheck.org, www.mitosys.org, www.systemsmicroscopy.eu), establishing methods to reliably score up to billions of cells and capture rare and transient functional states automatically.

He is a member of several editorial, as well as scientific advisory boards of renowned international journals and research institutes. Due to the important role of new imaging technologies for the future life sciences, he has coordinated European efforts to make imaging technologies more accessible to researchers as open access research infrastructures (www.eurobioimaging.eu).


  • seit 2010 Leiter der Abteilung Cell Biology and Biophysics am European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Heidelberg
  • 2006-2009 Koordinator der Abteilung Gene Expression Unit am EMBL, Heidelberg
  • seit 2006 Senior-Wissenschaftler am EMBL, Heidelberg
  • seit 2004 Koordinator, Center for Bioimage Analysis (ehemals Centre for Molecular and Cellular Imaging), EMBL, Heidelberg
  • 1999-2005 Forschungsgruppenleiter „Gene Expression and Cell Biology/Biophysics Units“, EMBL, Heidelberg
  • 1998-1999 Postdoctoral Fellow am National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, USA
  • 1998 Promotion in Biochemie an der Freien Universität Berlin
  • 1995-1998 Arbeit an der Promotion am National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda
  • 1994 Diplom in Biologie an der Universität Hamburg
  • 1993-1994 Diplomvorbereitung am Institut für Genbiologische Forschung Berlin GmbH
  • Studium der Biologie an der Universität Hamburg


Mikroskopie Infrastruktur:

  • seit 2016 Koordinator, EMBL Imaging Centre
  • seit 2014 EMBL Delegierter im Euro-BioImaging Interim Board und Vorsitzender der Funding Acquisition Working Group
  • 2016-2018 Koordinator, EC Euro-Bioimaging Preparatory Phase II
  • 2015-2018 Wissenschaftlicher Koordinator des EC Global BioImaging Project (GBI)
  • 2010-2014 Wissenschaftlicher Koordinator, Euro-BioImaging Preparatory Phase I

Mitglied in Scientific Advisory Boards und Review Panels:

  • International Advisory Board, SciLifeLab, Stockholm, IAB, Schweden (Vorsitzender)
  • Scientific Advisory Board des Max-Delbrück-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin (MDC), Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft, Berlin, Deutschland
  • Review Panel des Danish Research Institute of Translational Neuroscience, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Dänemark
  • Scientific Advisory Board Kavli Institute for Nanobiology, TU Delft, Niederlande
  • Scientific Advisory Board Institute for Molecular Genetics, Prag, Tschechische Republik
  • Scientific Advisory Board ARC center for advanced molecular imaging, Monash, Australien
  • Scientific Advisory Board Luxendo GmbH, Heidelberg (Vorsitzender und wissenschaftlicher Gründer)
  • Review Panel Stazione Zoologica Anton Dorn, Italien
  • Review Panel Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Schweden
  • Mitglied im Review Panel Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), National Centre of Excellence in Chemical Biology, Genf, Schweiz
  • Scientific Advisory Board Covalys Biosciences AG, Witterswil, Schweiz (2004 - 2007)

Mitglied der Editorial Boards von:

  • Current Biology
  • The Journal of Cell Biology
  • Molecular Systems Biology
  • Journal of Structural Biology
  • BioMedCentral Image Library (2004-2010)
  • Biology of the Cell (2002-2006)

Begutachtung von Forschungsvorhaben für:

  • European Research Council (ERC) (Gutachter und Panel-Mitglied)
  • Referee Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)

Mitglied in akademischen Auswahlkomitees für:

  • Universität Heidelberg, ETH Zürich (Externes Mitglied)
  • Francis Crick Institute, London und Institut Pasteur, Paris
  • CNRS ATIP Cell Biology, Paris, Frankreich (Review Panel)


  • 2018-2020 Allen Distinguished Investigator Award „Understanding the self-assembly of the largest protein-based machine in human cells“
  • 2017-2019 Baden-Württemberg Stiftung Förderung „Internationale Spitzenforschung“, „Understanding the self-assembly of the largest protein-based machine in human cells“
  • 2017-2021 ERC Advanced Grant des European Research Council (EC H2020): „Cell division and the origin of embryonic aneuploidy in preimplantation mouse development“
  • 2016-2018 Kooordinator des EC preparatory phase II project “Euro-BioImaging” (EuBI PPII) (EC H2020-INFRASUPP).
  • 2015-2020 Lead PI des National Institutes of Health (NIH) für „4D nucleome: Reconstructing the dynamic 3D architecture of the human genome by superresolution microscopy and DNA sequence modelling“
  • 2015-2020 EuBI representative for EC grant iNEXT „Infrastructure for NMR, EM and X-ray crystallography for translational research“
  • 2015-2019 Work package leader EC grant CORBEL „Coordinated Research Infrastructures Building Enduring Life-science services“ (H2020-INFRADEV)
  • 2015-2018 Wissenschaftlicher Koordinator of EC Global BioImaging Project (GBI) (EC H2020-INFRADEV-4).
  • 2012-2017 Lokaler Koordinator EC Combined Collaborative Project & Coordination and Support Action for construction of new infrastructures „BioMedBridges“
  • 2011-2016 Lokaler Koordinator EC Network of Excellence „Systems microscopy – a key enabling methodology for next-generation systems biology“
  • 2010-2015 Wissenschaftlicher Koordinator EC Combined Collaborative Project & Coordination and Support Action for preparation of new infrastructures „Euro-Bioimaging“
  • 2010-2015 Lokaler Koordinator der EC Large Collaborative Action MitoSys „Systems Biology of Mitosis“, framework 7, priority 1: Health
  • 2010-2018 DFG-Projekt „Defining the mechanism of actin-mediated spindle position sensing in mouse oocytes“, Teilprojekt zu SPP 1464: „Principles and evolution of actin-nucleator complexes“
  • 2010-2014 DFG-Projekt „Mechanismen der Zellteilungsstörung der akuten lymphatischen Leukämie im Kindesalter“
  • 2009-2017 DFG-Projekt „Mechanism of the coordination of homologous chromosome segregation with asymmetric division in meiosis I“, Teilprojekt zu SPP 1384: „Mechanisms of Genome Haploidization“
  • 2005-2015 DFG-Projekt „Elucidating the mechanism of nuclear pore complex assembly in intact nuclei of live cells“, Teilprojekt zu SPP 1175: „Dynamics of Cellular Membranes and their Exploitation by Viruses“
  • 2005-2011 Lokaler Koordinator EC Network of Excellence ENFIN „an Experimental Network for Functional Integration“
  • 2005-2008 Koordinator des BMBF-Projekts mit dem National Genome Research Network: „Genome wide RNAi screening using cell arrays“
  • 2005-2008 Stellvertretender Koordinator Förderung der Landesstiftung Baden-Württemberg, „Production of siRNA microarrays for systematic high throughput analysis of human gene function in living cells by genome wide screening“
  • 2004-2009 DFG-Projekt „The control of chromosome structure by cohesin/condensin complexes“
  • 2004-2008 Lokaler Koordinator EC Integrated Project MitoCheck „Regulation of Mitosis by Phosphorylation - A Combined Functional Genomics, Proteomics and Chemical Biology Approach“
  • 2004 Summer Research Grant of the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA, USA
  • 2002-2007 DFG-Projekt „Understanding complete transport cycles mediated by importin beta-type nuclear transport receptors in situ and in living cells“, Teilprojekt zu SPP 1050: „Funktionelle Architektur des Zellkerns“
  • 2002 Nikon Fellow, Summer Research Grant at the MBL, Woods Hole, MA
  • 2001-2004 Human Frontiers Science Program, „Functional organization of the cell nucleus investigated through proteomics and molecular dynamics“

Auszeichnungen und Mitgliedschaften

  • seit 2018 Mitglied der Nationalen Akademie der Wissenschaften Leopoldina
  • 2017 Allen Distinguished Investigator, Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group
  • seit 2017 Mitglied der Academia Europaea
  • 2016 ERC Advanced Investigator, European Research Council
  • 2016 Ehrendoktor der Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finnland
  • 2015 Dritte Matthias Schleiden-Lecture der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Zellbiologie
  • 2011 Leiter des Programmkomitees der 51. Versammlung der American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB), Denver, CO, USA
  • seit 2006 Mitglied der European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), Heidelberg
  • 2004 MBL Summer Research Fellow, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA, USA
  • 2004 ELSO Early Career Award, European Life Scientist Organisation, ELSO, Sandhausen
  • 2004 Walter Flemming Medaille der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Zellbiologie (DGZ)
  • 2002 Nikon Fellow, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA
  • 1998-1999 Visiting Fellow Award des Fogarty International Center, NIH, Bethesda, USA
  • 1998 Fellows Award for Research Excellence, NIH
  • 1998 Stipendium des Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds, Stuttgart




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