Marsilius-Akademie[At the] Limits of Life:

Dealing with Biofacts, Embryoids and Hybrids – Perspectives from Sciences and Humanities

September 10 – 15, 2023

Transgressing the border between the living and the non-living – reshaping organisms’ early development – blurring the boundaries between species: In recent years, life science research has increasingly challenged limits of life that used to be regarded as ineluctable. Exciting new opportunities as well as ethical, legal and societal issues arise, all of which demand comprehensive and critical investigation. This Marsilius Academy aims to bring together excellent young researchers from the life and natural sciences, the social sciences and the humanities to engage in interdisciplinary exchange and discussion. Fuelled by the expertise of internationally renowned scholars and scientists, it addresses fundamental challenges arising from recent developments within the fields of biology, biomedicine and bioengineering. Participants are expected to contribute with their disciplinary perspective and research to the Academy.

Poster Ausschnitt Life of Limits Marsilius Akademie 2023

Target group, Fees and Waivers

The Academy is aimed at Doctoral Students and (early) Post-Docs. Number of participants is limited. A participation fee of 750€ - including room and board - will be charged. Waivers or the coverage of travel expenses may be granted to applicants without institutional support upon request.

Public Session - Panel Discussion

Bio-Technology, Anthropology, Ethics

Wednesday, 13 September 2023, 7.30 pm
The Great Hall of the Old University (Alte Aula),
Grabengasse 1, 69120 Heidelberg

In June 2023 both the public and the broader scientific community were confronted with spectacular and - to some - worrying reports about a major breakthrough in developmental Stem Cell Research: Several laboratories seem to have succeeded in replicating early stages of human embryo growth by creating embryos out of human stem cells. Further study of these ‚synthetic human embryos‘, which are very similar to natural embryos during the first 14 days of their development, may lead to major insights into illnesses, birth defects, and other processes occuring in these early days of ‚human life‘. At the same time, the status before the law of these creatures/creations is unclear as are anthropological, ethical, and moral questions concerning the handling and classification of them.


Poster Vortrag Marsilius Akademie 2023



Prof. Jacob Hanna, MD PhD
Weizmann Institute of Science (Rehovot/Israel), Stem Cell Biology
Prof. Nicole Karafyllis, PhD
Technical University Braunschweig, Philosophy/Applied Ethics
Ass. Prof. Ben Hurlbut, PhD
Arizona State University (Tempe/USA), Science&Technology Studies/Ethics/Political Theory
Prof. Christine Selhuber-Unkel, PhD
Heidelberg University, Physics/Molecular Systems Engineering
Prof. em. Klaus Tanner, PhD
Heidelberg University, Systematic Theology/Ethics
Prof. Fruszina Molnár-Gábor, PhD
Heidelberg University, Medicine & Health Law
Eva Wolfangel
Nature Marsilius Visiting Professor 2021/22

Cooperation with

The Marsilius Academy 2023 is a joint venture of the Marsilius Kolleg at Heidelberg University, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research (MPImR).

It is supported financially by the Health & Life Science Alliance Heidelberg-Mannheim.