Prof. Iain Mattaj was born in St. Andrews, Scotland. He attended Edinburgh University. After completing his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry (honours) he attended the University of Leeds, England for his PhD studies. Following his PhD, Prof. Mattaj carried out postdoctoral research at the Friedrich Miescher Institute, Switzerland then at the Biocentre, University of Basel, Switzerland before joining EMBL Heidelberg, Germany as a Group Leader in 1985. He became Coordinator of the Gene Expression Unit at EMBL in 1990 before being promoted to the position of Scientific Director in 1999. Prof. Mattaj was appointed Director-General in May 2005.
Prof. Mattaj is a distinguished scientist whose contributions have been recognised by his election as a Fellow of the Royal Society (London), Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Member of Academia Europea and Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Science. He is a member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) and helped make The EMBO Journal a highly successful international scientific journal, acting as Executive Editor from 1990 to 2004.