Eileen Furlong studied biochemistry at University College Dublin, Ireland, where she obtained her PhD in the regulation of immediate early response genes. After that, she did her postdoctoral studies at Stanford University, focusing on developmental biology. Furlong became a group leader at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg in October 2002.
Furlong's research looks at transcription/chromatin regulation and developmental biology using the integration of genetics, genomics and computational biology. The Furlong lab at EMBL focuses on understanding how transcriptional networks drive cell fate decisions during development. They also seek to understand how robust developmental progression is achieved, with the aim of building predictive models of gene expression.
Since 2009, Furlong has been a senior scientist and head of the Genome Biology Department at EMBL. She also co-founded the Single Cell Genomics Centre Heidelberg, an inter-institutional centre with over 22 groups developing and applying cutting edge single cell genomics.
Furlong is an advanced ERC investigator, elected member of EMBO and the Academia Europaea, a member of the scientific advisory board of the Curie and CRG institutes, and a member of many review boards, including Science Board of Reviewing (BoREs).