Is there a future in the life sciences

Faculty of Life Sciences

This faculty covers all areas from classical biology to molecular biology to modern drug research. It is at the center of an environment that is extremely attractive for science and business.

Lessons on living objects in the botanical garden. This and the Zoological Museum offer a wide range of options for teaching biology and pharmacy. Both are also open to the general public to visit. The garden gives scientists ample research material and the opportunity to cultivate endangered plants. The museum shows specimens from animals that are already extinct, and in the winter semester it has also been offering one of the university's most successful public lecture series for many years.

The life sciences deal with the structure and dynamics of the biosphere, with the structure and function of its parts. This includes plants, animals and microorganisms, their structure and way of life, their diseases and defects as well as their healing. The basis is the investigation of cells as the smallest unit of all living beings using the methods of molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry and physics as well as bioinformatics. All life is controlled and regulated by the genetic information in DNA and its interaction with proteins and hormones, with RNA, with membranes and other structures of cells and organs - a highly networked system that has been optimized through evolution. The methods of genetic engineering and biotechnology were developed around 30 years ago. Since then it has been possible to analyze organisms more precisely, to give them new properties through recombination and to treat genetic defects.

Diversity in teaching

The Heidelberg Faculty of Biosciences trains around 2,000 students, and is taught and supervised by around 70 professors, 40 lecturers and 300 members of the scientific service. The individual institutes are dedicated to plant sciences, pharmacy with molecular biotechnology, zoology, and micro and neurobiology. Their departments convey the entire breadth of subjects - from basic chemistry to physiology to ecology and pharmacology.

The faculty's scientists are spread across these institutes, but many also belong to the corresponding cross-faculty centers of the university, i.e. the one for molecular biology, the one for neurosciences, the biochemistry center, the interdisciplinary center for scientific computing or the institute for human genetics. The Faculty of Biosciences is also present at non-university locations - such as the German Cancer Research Center, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research or the Federal Biological Research Center for Agriculture and Forestry.

Basic sciences

In addition to classic areas of biology, the faculty is also interested in related areas such as immunology, evolutionary research and structural biology. The Heidelberg Institute for Pharmacy and Molecular Biotechnology has developed into an excellent center for pharmaceutical research in recent years. All aspects of modern drug research are processed there, from chemical synthesis to research into molecular mechanisms of action and pharmacology to bioinformatics, functional genomics and finally clinical application. In addition, biology and pharmacy, as essential basic sciences, provide important foundations for a number of related disciplines from medicine to psychology.

Computer-controlled microscope: The latest methodology for processing biological and pharmaceutical problems is used here.

Young students have access to the laboratories as part of research internships. Examinations are largely held in accordance with the “European Credit Transfer System” (ECTS), with short study times being achieved through intensive supervision.

With well over a hundred scientific working groups, Heidelberg is also one of the largest molecular biology sites in Germany.

Scientific communication on the poster. The participation of doctoral and diploma students in conferences and congresses around the world, combined with discussions with colleagues in the same research area, also provides important impulses for one's own work.

Because of its extensive and excellent research, this location enjoys a high national and international reputation and offers young students in this department a unique, diverse education. For many companies in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, this environment has recently been so attractive that various partnerships have emerged. These include the technology park founded in Neuenheimer Feld in 1985 and the BioRegion Rhein-Neckar-Dreieck initiative.