German Cancer Research Center in the Helmholtz Association - Center for Molecular Biology in the University of Heidelberg

About us

The DKFZ-ZMBH-Alliance is a strategic alliance of the Research Program Cell and Tumor Biology of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ, member of the Helmholtz Association) and the Center for Molecular Biology of the Ruprecht-Karls-University of Heidelberg (ZMBH) with a main focus on basic research in the area of molecular life sciences. This concept combines advantages of both institutions and creates a particularly attractive research environment.

Currently 30 research groups with an international staff of more than 400 collaborate in the DKFZ-ZMBH Alliance. The Alliance offers its roughly 200 PhD students and 150 post-doctoral fellows and senior scientists a unique interdisciplinary research landscape at the interface of molecular, cell and tumor biology. The scientific focus lies on the elucidation of molecular processes contributing to biogenesis and maintenance as well as to degeneration and transformation of cells. The spectrum of research ranges from the atomic scale to the analysis of biological processes in organisms and diseases.

The Alliance is an essential element of the Concept of Excellence of the University of Heidelberg. Many of Principal Investigators are also members of the CellNetworks Cluster of Excellence and the HBIGS Graduate School, which were established thanks to the funding by the Initiative of Excellence. Moreover, the Alliance is centrally embedded in the Molecular Life Sciences Campus of Heidelberg. There are close contacts to the institutes of the Faculty of Biological Sciences and other academic centers, such as the Biochemistry Center and BioQuant, the Medical School (University Hospital, National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) as well as the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research.

Our Mission

  1. Establishment of an international inspiring center of excellence in molecular, cellular life sciences
  2. Recruiting international scientists outstanding in their field to Heidelberg
  3. Teaching, training, and individual career planning for undergraduate and graduate students and post-doctoral fellows and senior scientists during their various career stages
  4. Possibilities for establishing scientifically independent junior research groups
  5. Providing optimal infrastructure and administrative support for scientists in order to provide room for innovative, creative, and interdisciplinary research
  6. Establishment of a basis for the translation of basic research results to medicine with a main focus on aging and cancer
  7. Support in technology transfer and translation of results into clinical research and applications

The three research programs of the DKFZ-ZMBH-Alliance are:

Alliance Directorate

Bernd Bukau

Andreas Trumpp

Prof. Bernd Bukau

Co-Director (ZMBH)


Prof. Andreas Trumpp

Co-Director (DKFZ)


Elmar Schiebel

Claudio Joazeiro

Prof. Elmar Schiebel


Prof. Claudio Joazeiro


Almut Schulze

Tobias Dick

Prof. Almut Schulze


Prof. Tobias Dick