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Matthias Werner Hentze, MD (*25 January 1960 in Wiedenbrück, Germany) is a German scientist. Currently, he is the Director of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and Professor of Molecular Medicine at Heidelberg University.
Matthias Hentze studied medicine in the UK at the Medical Schools in Southampton, Oxford, Glasgow and Cambridge, and in Germany at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster from which he qualified in 1984. In the same year, he received his M.D. degree for work on lysosomal enzyme biogenesis  in the laboratory of Prof. Kurt von Figura. After a short phase of clinical work and supported by a fellowship awarded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Council), Hentze became a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Richard Klausner’s laboratory at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, Maryland, USA in 1985. In 1989, he joined the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg as an independent group leader. At the age of 30, he obtained the Habilitation from the Ruprecht-Karls University in Heidelberg. He served as Dean of the EMBL International Ph.D. Programme from 1996 until 2005, when he became Associate Director of the EMBL and Professor for Molecular Medicine at the University of Heidelberg. Together with Prof. Andreas Kulozik of the Medical Faculty of Heidelberg University, Hentze co-founded the Molecular Medicine Partnership Unit (MMPU) in 2002 and serves as its Co-Director. He is also co-founder of Anadys Pharmaceuticals, San Diego, California.
He is married to the German physician Sabine Hentze and has three daughters. He regularly participates in city marathons of the World Marathon Majors series (New York, Boston, Chicago, London, Berlin) and is a qualified member of the Berlin Marathon Jubilee Club.
In 1987, Hentze and his colleagues discovered iron-responsive elements (IRE), the first regulatory elements in mammalian mRNA.
Hentze and his co-workers have conducted groundbreaking research especially for the understanding of translational control (by RNA-binding proteins or microRNAs), which is now broadly recognized for its importance in development, central nervous system function, cancer, and many other diseases. In addition, Hentze is known for his pioneering work in the field of iron metabolism and its diseases. Within the Molecular Medicine Partnership Unit (MMPU), Hentze investigates diseases of RNA metabolism, especially those relating to the nonsense-mediated decay (NMD) pathway and RNA 3’end formation.
Recently, Hentze proposed the concept of "REM networks", which posits that cellular metabolism and gene expression are connected via "RNA-binding" enzymes (Hentze and Preiss, 2010). In 2012, he was awarded an “ERC Advanced Investigators Grant” to further explore how metabolism and gene regulation are coordinated.
Honors and Awards (Selection)
- 2012 - Advanced Investigator Grant of the European Research Council (ERC)
- 2007 - Lautenschläger Research Prize of the University of Heidelberg
- 2006 - Elected Member of the “German Academy of Sciences - Leopoldina”
- 2003 - Elected Director of the “International BioIron Society (IBIS)”, until 2007
- 2003 - Elected Member of the “European Academy of Sciences”
- 2000 - Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the “German Research Foundation" (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft)
- 1997 - Elected member of the “European Molecular Biology Organization" (EMBO)
- 1985 - Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG): Postdoctoral fellowship
Functions in Scientific Societies and Committees (Selection)
- Since 2013 - Scientific Advisory Board, Berlin Institute of Health (BIH)
- Since 2013 - Scientific Advisory Board, Cold Spring Harbor Conferences Asia
- Since 2012 - Board of Trustees, Max-Planck-Institute for Astronomy (MPIA), Heidelberg, Germany
- Since 2011 - Scientific Advisory Board, Centenary Institute, Sydney, Australia
- Since 2010 - Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board, BioCity Turku, Turku, Finland
- Since 2009 - Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board, Max-Delbrück-Center for Molecular Medicine, Berlin, Germany
- Since 2009 - Board of Trustees, Max-Delbrück-Center for Molecular Medicine, Berlin, Germany
- Since 2008 - International Advisory Board, Queens University Belfast Medical School, UK
- Since 2006 - Scientific Advisory Board, Centro de Biologia Molecular “Severo Ochoa” (CBMSO), Madrid, Spain
Hentze has co-authored textbooks in the field of Molecular Medicine and has contributed over 200 peer-reviewed scientific publications, including
- Hentze, M.W.; Caughman, S.W.; Rouault, T.A.; Barriocanal, J.G.; Dancis, A.; Harford, J.B.; Klausner, R.D. (1987). "Identification of the iron-responsive element for the translational regulation of human ferritin mRNA". Science 238 (4833): 1570–1573. doi:10.1126/science.3685996. PMID 3685996.
- Ostareck, D.H.; Ostareck-Lederer, A.; Wilm, M.; Thiele, B.J.; Mann, M.; Hentze, M.W. (1997). "mRNA silencing in erythroid differentiation: hnRNP K and hnRNP E1 regulate 15-lipoxygenase translation from the 3' end". Cell 89 (4): 597–606. doi:10.1016/S0092-8674(00)80241-X. PMID 9160751.
- Preiss, T.; Hentze, M.W. (1998). "Dual function of the cap structure in poly(A) tail-promoted translation in yeast". Nature 392 (6675): 516–520. doi:10.1038/33192. PMID 9548259.
- Muckenthaler, M.; Gray, N.K.; Hentze, M.W. (1998). "IRP-1 binding to ferritin mRNA prevents the recruitment of the small ribosomal subunit by the cap-binding complex eIF4F". Molecular Cell 2 (3): 383–388. doi:10.1016/S1097-2765(00)80282-8. PMID 9774976.
- Ostareck, D.H.; Ostareck-Lederer, A.; Shatsky, I.N.; Hentze, M.W. (2001). "Lipoxygenase mRNA silencing in erythroid differentiation: the 3'UTR regulatory complex controls 60S ribosomal subunit joining". Cell 104 (2): 281–290. doi:10.1016/S0092-8674(01)00212-4. PMID 11207368.
- Muckenthaler, M.; Roy, C.N.; Custodio, A.O.; Minana, B.; Montross, L.K.; Andrews, N.C.; Hentze, M.W.; Hentze, MW (2003). "Regulatory defects in liver and intestine implicate abnormal hepcidin and Cybrd1 expression in mouse hemochromatosis". Nature Genetics 34 (1): 102–107. doi:10.1038/ng1152. PMID 12704390.
- Beckmann, K.; Grskovic, M.; Gebauer, F.; Hentze, M.W. (2005). "A dual inhibitory mechanism restricts msl-2 mRNA translation for dosage compensation in Drosophila". Cell 122 (4): 529–540. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2005.06.011. PMID 16122421.
- Thermann, R.; Hentze, M.W. (2007). "Drosophila miR2 induces pseudo-polysomes and inhibits translation initiation". Nature 447 (875–879): 2007. doi:10.1038/nature05878.
- Gehring, N.H.; Lamprinaki, S.; Kulozik, A.E.; Hentze, M.W. (2009). "Disassembly of Exon Junction. Complexes by PYM". Cell 137 (3): 536–548. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2009.02.042. PMID 19410547.
- Zdanowicz, A.; Thermann, R.; Kowalska, J.; Jemielity, J.; Duncan, K.; Preiss, T.; Darzynkiewicz, E.; Hentze, M.W. (2009). "Drosophila miR2 Primarily Targets the m7GpppN Cap Structure for Translational Repression". Molecular Cell 35 (6): 881–888. doi:10.1016/j.molcel.2009.09.009. PMID 19782035.
- Hentze, M.W.; Preiss, T. (2010). "The REM phase of gene regulation". TiBs 35 (8): 423–426. doi:10.1016/j.tibs.2010.05.009. PMID 20554447.
- Hentze, M.W.; Muckenthaler, M.U.; Galy, B.; Camaschella, C. (2010). "Two to tango: regulation of mammalian iron metabolism". Cell 142 (1): 24–38. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2010.06.028. PMID 20603012.
At the European Molecular Biology Laboratory:
Of the Molecular Medicine Partnership Unit: