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. 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.

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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