18 June 2018 – The Supervisory Board of Human technopole Foundation, during its first meeting, nominates Iain Mattaj Director of Human Technopole.
Since 2005, professor Iain Mattaj is the Director General of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), an intergovernmental organization based in Heidelberg. EMBL is the European flagship laboratory for the life sciences, world-renowned for its outstanding research in molecular biology and for hosting a significant number of Nobel Prize winners over the last twenty years, including the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2017 for the cryo-EM.
Born in 1952 in St. Andrews, Scotland, after obtaining the undergraduate degree with honour in Biochemistry at the University of Edinburgh, Iain Mattaj got his PhD from the University of Leeds, UK. He carried out his postdoctoral research at the Friedrich Miescher Institute (CH) and then at the Biocentre, University of Basel. In 1985, Iain Mattaj joined EMBL as Group Leader at the Heidelberg Laboratory. In 1990, he became Coordinator of the Gene Expression Unit, later Scientific Director (1999) and finally he was appointed Director General in 2005.
His research over the years gave relevant contributions in the field of ribonucleoprotein (RNP) particles that function in the processing of messenger RNA precursors. More recently, Mattaj demonstrated the critical role of the Ran GPTase enzyme in the regulation of mitotic events.
Thanks to these important results, Iain Mattaj received many awards such as the Louis-Jeantet for Medicine Prize in 2001, and this year he was elected NAS foreign associate.
Professor Iain Mattaj is the favoured candidate selected by an international and independent committee chaired by the Nobel prize for chemistry Martin Chalfie. The selection procedure started in April 2017, with the international competition announcement for the director position. 46 candidatures has been submitted, half of which from foreigners and the 80% from candidates working abroad. On February 2018 the Coordination Committee ratifies the evaluation of the international committee, approving their job and confirming Iain Mattaj best candidate for the position. On June 18, the Supervisory broad officially nominates Iain Mattaj Director of Human Technopole.
Committed to the development of research and science, and looking for new challenges of high-impact on the scientific community in Europe, Iain Mattaj was attracted by the very ambitious and exciting Human Technopole project. He firmly believes Human Technopole is a great opportunity for developing science in Italy and Europe and to attract top scientists and create a multicultural, multidisciplinary and collaborative ecosystem.