Iain Mattaj is a biochemist who has made a number of important contributions to our knowledge concerning how RNA and proteins are transported between the cell nucleus and cytoplasm. These findings stemmed from his early work on the import and export of ribonucleoproteins particles — RNA–protein complexes — at the cell nucleus.
Iain subsequently uncovered the role of enzymes known as GTPpases in the regulation of mitosis — the division of the cell nucleus into two daughter nuclei. Under the influence of Ran, a GTPase signalling protein, the cell cytoskeleton remodels to form the mitotic spindle — a crucial structure in mitosis. By dissecting Ran’s role in facilitating mitosis, Iain is enabling researchers to create improved cell-regeneration therapies.
In addition to his ongoing research, Iain is also highly influential in the field of gene expression and is an administrative leader, supporting the transfer of research into commercial applications. He was former Director General of EMBL, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, a member of EMBO and serves on the Advisory Editorial Board of the EMBO Journal.
Director, Fondazione Human Technopole Director, Fondazione Human Technopole Director, Fondazione Human Technopole
Interest and expertise
Biochemistry and molecular cell biology
Biochemistry and molecular biology, Cell biology (incl molecular cell biology)