Dr Eileen Furlong

UCD Alumni Award in Research, Innovation and Impact 2023

BSc 1992 (Pharmacology), PhD 1996 (Pharmacology)

Dr Eileen Furlong is head of the Genome Biology department at EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory), senior scientist and member of the EMBL directorate.

She studied biochemistry at UCD where she obtained her Ph.D. in the regulation of immediate early response genes. She then moved to developmental biology during her postdoctoral studies at Stanford University, US. She became a group leader at EMBL in Heidelberg in October 2002, and is head of the Genome Biology Department at EMBL since 2009.

She is known for her work in uncovering different mechanisms of genome regulation, including understanding how developmental enhancers function and are organised in the compact three-dimensional nucleus to regulate developmental programs. Her research has pioneered the development of genomic methods for use in developing embryos, which has uncovered many new features of how enhancers are used and drive embryonic development. Her group uses interdisciplinary approaches combining genetics, genomics, imaging and computational approaches to understand these processes, including the development of new genomic methods within the context of a multicellular embryo.

Eileen has received several awards, including the 2022 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, Germany’s most prestigious award. Eileen is an ERC advanced investigator, elected member of EMBO, the Academia Europaea, and a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS), UK.