Affiliation: University of Dundee, UK
Thimo Kurz was born in Malsch, a small German town in the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg. He attended the Eberhard-Karls University of Tübingen, from where he obtained the German Diplom in Biology (equivalent to a Master’s degree) in 2001. He then moved to Bruce Bowerman’s laboratory at the University of Oregon USA, where he obtained his Ph.D. in 2003 for studies on the mechanisms governing the first mitotic divisions of the early C. elegans embryo. This work led to the realization that proper cytoskeletal organization during C. elegans embryogenesis requires the activity of a cullin-3 based E3 ubiquitin ligase, which is regulated by the ubiquitin-like protein Nedd8. In 2003, Thimo took up a postdoctoral position with Matthias Peter in the Institute of Biochemistry at the ETH Zürich, Switzerland, to study ubiquitin and ubiquitin-like proteins in more detail. Here he identified and characterized the evolutionarily highly conserved Nedd8 E3 ligase Dcn1.
In 2008 Thimo Kurz was appointed Programme Leader in the newly formed Protein Ubiquitylation Unit of the Scottish Institute for Cell Signaling. His work focuses on the function and regulation of Ubiquitin and Ubiquitin-like protein conjugation systems. He is especially interested in elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying E3 ligase activity, and how defects in these enzymes cause human diseases.