Matthias Hentze is currently the Director of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and Co-Director of the Molecular Medicine Partnership Unit (MMPU) in Heidelberg (Germany). Following medical studies in Germany and the U.K., and his qualification as a medical doctor, he obtained his postdoctoral training at the NIH (USA) in the late eighties, when he and his colleagues discovered “iron-responsive elements” initiating his interests in RNA biology (translation, mRNA stability, NMD, miRNAs) and diseases of iron metabolism (anemias, hemochromatosis, degenerative diseases). Recent work by the Hentze group has uncovered hundreds of new RNA-binding proteins, including many metabolic enzymes. Their current work uncovers new functions for RNA in the direct regulation of protein function (‘riboregulation’) and elucidates connections between metabolism and gene regulation.
Prof. Hentze is a co-founder of the MMPU, a joint interdisciplinary and translational research unit of the Medical Faculty of Heidelberg University and the EMBL, which bridges between medicine and molecular biology. Matthias Hentze’s research contributions have been recognized in numerous ways including Germany’s most prestigious scientific award, the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize in 2000, the 2007 Lautenschläger Research Prize of Heidelberg University, and the 2015 Feodor Lynen Medal of the German Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. In 2017, he was awarded the Doctor of Science honoris causa by the Australia National University (ANU) in Canberra. He is an elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO), the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, and the Academia Europaea. In 2016, he became the first German scientist elected as a Corresponding Member of the Australian Academy of Science. In 2018, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Matthias Hentze was a co-founder of Anadys Pharmaceuticals (San Diego), and serves on numerous international scientific advisory and editorial boards. Current activities in science administration include innovative approaches to international collaborations and to academia-industry partnerships.