The Hubrecht Institute was named after Ambrosius Arnold Willem Hubrecht (1853-1915), Professor of Zoology in the medical faculty of Utrecht University.
Ambrosius Hubrecht lived at a residence at the Janskerkhof in Utrecht, that was later also to contain the Anatomy/Embryology Laboratory and the Anatomy Museum of Utrecht University. At the beginning of the 1880s, Hubrecht corresponded with Charles Darwin, who paved the way for the theory of evolution in his book “On the origin of species”. During his life Hubrecht assembled a vast amount of embryonic material from a number of species, particularly from the former Dutch colonies of the East Indies.
In 1916, after Hubrecht’s death, it was decided to establish the first Hubrecht Laboratory in Hubrecht’s house in Janskerkhof. In the 1960’s, the Hubrecht Laboratory moved to a new building in the Uithof area of Utrecht (nowadays called Utrecht Science Park the Uithof). Here, several important advances in developmental biology were made, particularly the pioneering work of Pieter Nieuwkoop, after whom the area of an embryo called the “Nieuwkoop center” is named.
In 2000 the Hubrecht moved into a new, larger building built alongside the old building to accommodate the growing number of research groups. In 2007 the name was changed from Hubrecht Laboratory to Hubrecht Institute. In 2015 the Hubrecht Institute expanded with a new laboratory building which has been attached to the old building. In addition to researchers from the Hubrecht Institute here, also researchers from the UMC Utrecht work here.
After celebrating its 100th birthday in 2016, the Hubrecht Institute looks expectantly to the future. The institute currently encompasses 20 research groups that perform fundamental and multidisciplinary research, both in healthy systems and disease models.