​​​​​​​Aleksandra Trifunovic and Ivan Matić accepted as a new members of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO)

09.07.2024 News and Calendar TopNews Dr. Ivan Matic Prof. Dr. Aleksandra Trifunovic

Professor Dr Aleksandra Trifunovic (left) and Dr Ivan Matić (right).

EMBO honours the outstanding scientific achievements in the life sciences of Trifunovic and Matić

Together with other internationally renowned European scientists, the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) has accepted as a new members two principal investigators from CECAD, Cologne Excellence Cluster for Aging and Aging-associated Diseases: the molecular biologist Professor Dr Aleksandra Trifunovic from the Institute of Mitochondrial Diseases and Ageing at the University of Cologne’s Faculty of Medicine and the protein biochemist research group leader Dr Ivan Matić from the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing. In its decision to admit new members, EMBO looks for scientific excellence and ground-breaking research achievements.


About Aleksandra Trifunovic

Trifunovic is being honoured for her pioneering work on unravelling the molecular mechanisms of the accumulation of mitochondrial DNA mutations and organelle quality control, and their role in diseases and aging. Her ground-breaking work on the role of mitochondria and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) metabolism in aging led to a huge paradigm shift in the field and opened an entirely new research area (Nature 2004, Cell Metabolism 2009, 2010). Trifunovic made crucial contributions to the field of mitochondrial quality control by discovering fundamental roles of the mitochondrial matrix protease CLPP in regulating mitochondrial homeostasis (EMBO Journal 2016, EMBO Reports 2016, Nature Communications 2020, Brain 2021). She also pioneered research into mitochondrial stress responses (mitoISR), revealing intricate interplays that regulate these stress signalling cascades, thus determining the physiological outcome (Cell Metabolism 2014, Science Advances 2021, 2022). Collectively, her work highlights the complexity of mitochondrial stress responses by revealing the importance of tissue specificity and dose dependency of mitoISR. More recently, in close collaboration with the group of Professor Dr Manolis Pasparakis, Trifunovic uncovered a novel role of mitochondria in the regulation of dietary-lipid transport from enterocytes to peripheral organs (Nature 2024).

Aleksandra Trifunovic was born in 1971. She studied biology at the University of Belgrade (Serbia) and received her doctoral degree in molecular biology and biochemistry from the same University in 2000. After a period as a postdoctoral researcher at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm (Sweden), she obtained an assistant professor position at Karolinska Institute in 2006. In 2009 she was recruited as a research group leader through the CECAD Cluster of Excellence initiative and in 2014 appointed Full Professor in Mitochondrial Diseases and Ageing at the University of Cologne’s Faculty of Medicine. Currently, Trifunovic serves as the head of Research Area 1 and coordinator of Core Facilities of the CECAD Cluster of Excellence. She has organized multiple international conferences and serves as a member of several editorial board of research journals. Aleksandra Trifunovic has been awarded prestigious funding for her research, including an ERC Starter/Consolidator Grant in 2012 and an ERC Proof of Concept Grant in 2018. 


About Ivan Matić

Matić's research group studies protein modifications, small dynamic and reversible marks that can be added to proteins to change their function. He is particularly interested in ADP-ribosylation, a challenging modification that plays crucial roles in many physiological and pathological processes, from the response to DNA damage and cancer to neurological disorders and ageing. His group discovered serine ADP-ribosylation as a new type of histone modification and transformed this fundamental discovery into a foundational technology.  “It is a great honor for me to have been elected as an EMBO member and to join this community of outstanding scientists. I am grateful for EMBO’s support throughout my career, from being an EMBO short-term fellow to an EMBO Young Investigator. I am particularly thrilled to bring the rapidly evolving field of ADP-ribosylation to the attention of the broader life science community.”, comments Matić.

Ivan Matić obtained his PhD in Biochemistry under the supervision of Matthias Mann at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Martinsried, Germany. After his stay as a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow with Ron Hay at the University of Dundee, Scotland he was appointed as Research Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing and CECAD in 2014. In 2018 he was selected as an EMBO Young Investigator, and the following year, he secured an ERC consolidator grant. Matić is also the head of the Proteomics Core Facility at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing.


About EMBO

The European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) was officially founded in 1964. Its members include more than 1,800 internationally renowned scientists from the life sciences. In total 88 Nobel Laureates have been elected to EMBO’s membership. EMBO supports outstanding early-career researchers and promotes scientific exchange in the life sciences.


Media Contact:

Professor Dr Aleksandra Trifunovic
Institute of Mitochondrial Diseases and Ageing
CECAD, Cologne Excellence Cluster for Aging and Aging-associated Diseases
+49 221 478 84291

Dr Ivan Matic
Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing
CECAD, Cologne Excellence Cluster for Aging and Aging-associated Diseases
+49 221 37970846


Press and Communications Team:

Dr Anna Euteneuer
+49 221 470 1700

Dr. Maren Berghoff
 +49 221 37970 207


Photo Credits:

(left)  Ludolf Dahmen | Universität zu Köln
(right) Katharina Link | Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing


More information:





Press spokesperson of the University of Cologne: Dr Elisabeth Hoffmann – e.hoffmann@verw.uni-koeln.de