16 February 2018 – Human Technopole’s Coordination Committee met today and reviewed the Evaluation Committee’s report on the short list of five candidates interviewed in mid-January for the position of Human Technopole’s Director.
The favored candidate is Professor Iain Mattaj, currently 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 was also elected President of the RNA Society.
In the forthcoming weeks, Human Technopole’s Coordination Committee will meet professor Mattaj to present and discuss the proposed position.
The next crucial step is the approval of the Foundation’s Statute by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.
Stefano Paleari, President of Human Technopole’s Coordination Committee underlines: “I would like to thank the Evaluation Committee for its work and the Coordination Committee for the in-depth analysis of the evaluation report. Top level scientific candidates underwent the selection process, as underlined by the Evaluation Committee itself. The high quality of the candidates is a great satisfaction and at the same time a big responsibility for the forthcoming Human Technopole Foundation”.
The members of the Evaluation Committee are:
- Martin Chalfie, Columbia University, New York, USA;
- Piero Carninci, Riken, Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan;
- Monica Duca-Widmer, Università della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano, Switzerland;
- Natasha Azzopardi-Muscat, Mater Dei Hospital, Msida, Malta;
- Pierluigi Nicotera, German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Bonn, Germany;
- Stefan Catsicas, Science and Technology Strategy Advisor of Nestlé S.A
- Alberto Tesi, Università degli Studi di Firenze, Florence.
Human Technopole: the project steps
When fully operational Human Technopole will cover 30.000 square meters in the Milan area of Expo2015, near the Tree of Life. Besides Palazzo Italia which is already partly operational, Human Technopole research activity will be hosted in two existing buildings, Unità di Servizio 6 and Cardo Nord Ovest, and two new ones.
Human Technopole will develop personalized approaches, both in the medical and the nutritional field, aimed to fight cancer and neuro-degerative diseases by integrating large scale genomics with the analysis of complex data systems and the development of new diagnostics techniques.
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