Helmut Sigel is Professor Emeritus (2003) of Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Basel, Switzerland, where he has been Dozent since 1967. He spent the academic year 1968-1969 in the United States at Cornell University in Ithaca (N.Y.).
Dr. Sigel was a member of various Editorial Boards of international journals; he is a member of several chemical societies and editor - together with Astrid Sigel and Roland K. O. Sigel - of the series "Metal Ions in Biological Systems" until 2005 (volume 44) and since 2006 of the series "Metal Ions in Life Sciences" (see below). He was chairman of the programme on the Chemistry of Metals in Biological Systems of the European Science Foundation (Strasbourg) (1991-1993); during 1994-1998 he also served as a member of the Steering Committee of the mentioned programme. He was the Swiss representative in the Management Comittees of the COST D8 programme Chemistry of Metals in Medicine (1999-2001) and of the COST D20 programme Metal Compounds in the Treatment of Cancer and Viral Diseases (2000-2006). For the term 1998-2002 he was a member of the Council of the Society for Biological Inorganic Chemistry; since 1998 he is also at the International Advisory Board of the Research Center for Materials Science at Nagoya University (Japan). Together with Ivano Bertini, Harry B. Gray, and Bo G. Malmström he founded (1983) the International Conferences on Biological Inorganic Chemistry (ICBICS).
He was named Protagonist in Chemistry (2002) by Inorganica Chimica Acta (issue 339). Among further honors he received are the Priyadaranjan Ray Award (Indian Chemical Society, of which he is also an Honorary Fellow), the Werner Award (Swiss Chemical Society), a Doctor of Science honoris causa degree (Kalyani University, India), several Endowed Lecturerships and appointments as Visiting Professor, including at Zhongshan (Sun Yatsen) University in Guangzhou, China (1992-2000), the University of Innsbruck, Austria (2004), the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (2006), and the University of Kuwait (2009). In 2014 he was elected as Honorary Member of the Society of Biological Inorganic Chemistry (SBIC) and on the occasion of his 80th birthday tribute is paid to his achievements in the Special Issue 23:1 (2018) of the Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry (JBIC). His research interests within 'Bioinorganic Chemistry' focus on the stability, structure, and reactivity of simple and mixed ligand metal ion complexes of nucleotides, nucleotide analogues, amino acids, peptides, and other bio-ligands. He lectured worldwide and published more than 350 articles on these and related subjects.