Group Ban

Prof. Nenad Ban

Nenad Ban

ETH Zürich
Prof. Dr. Nenad Ban
Inst. f. Molekularbiol.u.Biophysik
Otto-Stern-Weg 5
8093 Zuerich

Phone: +41 44 633 27 85
Fax: +41 44 633 12 46

Nenad Ban was born in Zagreb, Croatia and educated at the University of Zagreb where he obtained a BS degree in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. He obtained his PhD degree in the US at the Department of Biochemistry at the University of California at Riverside (1990-1994) where his research focused on structural immunology and virology. His interest in large macromolecular assemblies led him for his postdoctoral work in 1995 to the Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University where he spearheaded the X-ray crystallographic structure determination of the large ribosomal subunit, a 1.5 MDa ribonucleoprotein complex, and determined its atomic structure in 2000 as part of the group in the laboratory of Thomas Steitz. These results revealed that the active site of the ribosome is formed out of RNA demonstrating that the ribosome is a ribozyme. The structure also opened up new possibilities for the development of new and improvement of existing antibiotics since many clinically available antibacterial drugs inhibit the ribosome. Based on the structure of the large ribosomal subunit the largest biotech startup company Rib-X was established in the US in 2000 and has been operating successfully ever since, developing several new antibiotics that are currently in clinical studies.
In 2000, Nenad Ban was appointed assistant professor of structural molecular biology at the ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) becoming full professor in 2007. The main goal of the research in his laboratory is to study structure and function of large cellular assemblies using a combination of crystallographic, electron microscopic and biochemical experiments. This research has significantly impacted two fields, protein synthesis and fatty acid synthesis. In particular, the pioneering structural and mechanistic studies of various ribosomal complexes involved in co-translational protein processing, folding, and targeting provide critical insights into this aspect of ribosomal function. The work on giant multifunctional enzymes involved in fatty acid synthesis offer first mechanistic insights into substrate shuttling and delivery in such megasynthases, with direct implications on our understanding of polyketide synthases and non-ribosomal peptide synthases. Nenad Ban is a member of EMBO and the German Academy of Sciences and the recipient of several prizes and awards including the Roessler prize of the ETH Zurich, the Latsis prize of the Latsis foundation, the Friedrich Miescher Prize of the Swiss Society for Biochemistry, and the AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize.

Professional positions

Since 2008 Vice chair, Institute of Molecular Biology and Biophysics
2006 – 2008 Chair, Institute of Molecular Biology and Biophysics
2007 Professor, ETH Zurich
2004 Associate professor, ETH Zurich
2000 Assistant professor, ETH Zurich
1999 Research Scientist, Yale University
1998 Associate research scientist, Yale University

Education and training

1994 - 1998 Postdoctoral training, Prof. Thomas A. Steitz
Yale University, Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry
1990 - 1994 PhD, Biochemistry, Minor in Computer Science, with Prof. Alex McPherson
University of California at Riverside, USA
1986 - 1990 B.S., Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Summa Cum Laude (based on GPA),
Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, University of Zagreb, Croatia

Prizes, awards, fellowships

2009 Roessler Prize of the ETH Zurich
2005 Latsis Prize
2004 Friedrich-Miescher Prize, Swiss Society for Biochemistry
2002 Newcomb-Cleveland prize, American Association for Advancement of Science
2002 Human Frontier Science Program Young Investigator Research Award
1999 Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award
1995 Damon Runyon - Walter Winchell fellowship of the Cancer Research Fund
1993 Pauling Prize honorable mention, American Crystallographic Association
1992 Teaching Assistant Award, University of California
1989 Award of the University of Zagreb

Honors, memberships

2009 EMBL Distinguished Speaker lecture
2008 EMBO member
2008 Member of the Leopoldina, German Academy of Sciences
2007 Nathan O Kaplan lecture, University of California at San Diego
2006 LeFevre Memorial Lecture in Biophysics, CNRS Strasbourg, France
2006 Roemer lecture, Ludwig Maximilian University Munich, Germany
1995 Damon Runyon – Walter Winchell postdoctoral fellow


Please click here for a complete list of publications


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