Professor Matthias Hentze was born in Rheda-Wiedenbrück, Germany. He attended Münster University Medical School, Germany, and also studied at Medical Schools in the United Kingdom (Oxford, Cambridge, Glasgow, Southampton). After completing his medical qualification and an M.D. in Biochemistry (Münster), Matthias carried out postdoctoral research at the National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, Maryland, USA), before joining EMBL Heidelberg as a Group Leader in 1989. He obtained the Habilitation from Heidelberg University in 1990 and became Professor for Molecular Medicine in 2005. Matthias served as the Dean of Graduate Studies from 1996 until being promoted to the position as EMBL Associate Director in July 2005. In 2013 he was appointed as Director.
As a research scientist, Matthias Hentze has made multiple landmark contributions to the understanding of posttranscriptional gene regulation, especially the control of protein synthesis. His work has also provided fundamental insights into the molecular mechanisms governing iron homeostasis and diseases of altered iron metabolism. Matthias is a co-founder of the Molecular Medicine Partnership Unit (MMPU) between EMBL and the Medical Faculty of Heidelberg University, which he co-directs and where he is involved in translational research on common diseases of altered mRNA metabolism. His research contributions have been recognized in numerous ways including Germany’s prestigious Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize in 2000, and the Lautenschläger Research Prize of Heidelberg University.
Matthias is an elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) and the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.
As the EMBL Director, Matthias advises and works closely with EMBL’s Director General, and supports him representing EMBL as an international scientific research, training and service organisation. While the Director General and the governing EMBL Council set the overall programme and directions of the Laboratory, the Director contributes to their implementation and generates additional opportunities for the Laboratory. He promotes aspects of EMBL´s public engagement and communication strategy, generating visibility and positive awareness of the Laboratory. The Director oversees the areas Resource Development and Alumni Relations. He also shares responsibility for EMBL’s Advanced Training activities organised under EICAT.
The Director reserves priority time for the Laboratory’s major private funders. He seeks their advice and support, and communicates the Laboratory’s vision, achievements and needs. The Director also works closely with the Board of EMBL’s Alumni Association, to maximize mutually beneficial interactions between EMBL Alumni, EMBL staff and the Laboratory itself.