New EMBO member: IMBA group leader Javier Martinez

May 20, 2015

The news was spread today: Javier Martinez, scientist at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA), was selected as a new member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO).

Javier Martinez

To be elected as an EMBO Member is one of the highest recognitions and honors for the outstanding achievements a scientist has made in his life. The EMBO members include more than 1,700 of the best researchers in Europe and throughout the world. 79 EMBO Members and Associate Members have been awarded Nobel Prizes.

The aim of EMBO is to support talented scientists and to help build an environment in which the researchers are able to act as well as possible. In addition, EMBO supports young scientists advancing their research and to promote their international reputation. Before this year's election there were 26 EMBO members in Austria, including IMBA group leaders Julius Brennecke, Jürgen Knoblich and Josef Penninger.

The election is carried out democratically by the existing members. Until December of each year the members may submit their nominations using an online voting system for three outstanding scientists. After a meeting of the EMBO council the new members will be announced in spring.

The research team of Javier Martinez focuses on the processing of various types of RNA molecules in particular tRNAs, in mammalian cells. This comprises the series of transformations that RNAs suffer from their synthesis until they reach a mature and functional state. Their approach combines biochemistry and mouse models - "in vitro" and "in vivo".  Besides others the group was able to find the essential tRNA splicing enzymes in mammalian cells. Adventuring into mouse models enabled the researchers to discover unexpected functions of these enzymes in the nervous system and in oxidative stress. 

Additionally the group is exploring the function of a related enzyme named RNA 3’ Terminal Phosphate Cyclase, through biochemistry and a knockout mouse.   

Javier Martinez completed his PhD in his home country at the University of Buenos Aires, before he moved to Europe. Afterwards he worked in Sweden at the University of Uppsala and in Göttingen at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry as a postdoc. Since 2004, Martinez is group leader at IMBA.




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