Prof. Nenad Ban
Nenad Ban was born in Zagreb, Croatia and educated at the University of Zagreb. He continued with his studies in the US where he obtained a PhD degree at the University of California at Riverside in the group of Alexander McPherson. His interest in large macromolecular assemblies led him for his postdoctoral work to the Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University where he determined the atomic structure of the large ribosomal subunit by X-ray crystallography, as part of the group in the laboratory of Thomas Steitz. These results demonstrated that the ribosome is a ribozyme.
Since 2000 Nenad Ban is a professor of structural molecular biology at the ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology). Structural studies in his group on bacterial and eukaryotic ribosomes and their functional complexes, using a combination of crystallographic, electron microscopic and biochemical experiments, have provided fundamental insights into the process of protein synthesis in all kingdoms of life. His group has obtained detailed structural information on eukaryotic ribosomes, which are at 4.3 MDa significantly larger and more complex than their 2.6 MDa bacterial counterparts, by determining the first complete structures of both eukaryotic ribosomal subunits each in complex with an initiation factor. Recently, his group also obtained a breakthrough in visualizing mammalian mitochondrial ribosomes with their study of the large ribosomal subunit that revealed its architectural features and the mechanism of how mitochondrial ribosomes, specialized for the synthesis of membrane proteins, are attached to the membranes. The work of his group on giant multifunctional enzymes involved in fatty acid synthesis offer first mechanistic insights into substrate shuttling and delivery in such megasynthases, with direct implications for our understanding of polyketide synthases. Nenad Ban is a member of EMBO, the German Academy of Sciences, the Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences and the recipient of several prizes and awards including the Heinrich Wieland prize, Roessler prize of the ETH Zurich, the Latsis prize, the Friedrich Miescher Prize of the Swiss Society for Biochemistry, Spiridon Brusina medal and the AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize.
Education and Training
Commissions of Trust
Science, Cell reports, Current opinion in Structural Biology series