Mato, Jose M.


Jose M. Mato

He received his graduate degree in chemistry from the University of Madrid in 1972 and the Ph.D. degree from the University of Leiden in 1978. Upon returning in 1980 to the Jimenez Diaz Foundation in Madrid, he created the laboratory of Liver Metabolism. He resigned in 1987 with the rank of Scientific Director, to assume the direction of the Institute of Biomedical Research of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), in Madrid. From 1992-1996, he was president of the CSIC and thereafter returned as professor to the Institute of Biomedical Research. In 1997, he was appointed professor of the Navarra University School of Medicine. He resigned in 2003 to create the Centers for Cooperative Research in Biosciences CIC BIOGUNE in Bilbao and CIC BIOMAGUNE in San Sebastian, serving as its general director. In 2002 he co-founded OWL, a pioneer biotechnology company in the field of metabolomics, and in 2015 Atlas Molecular Pharma, a company focused in the discovery of new drugs for the treatment of rare diseases.

From his early studies on the mechanism of the synthesis of cGMP during chemotaxis in Dictyostelium discoideum, he extended his interest to the synthesis of S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe). After demonstrating that the hepatic synthesis of SAMe was impaired in patients with liver disease, he found that mice deficient in hepatic SAMe synthesis spontaneously developed steatohepatitis, liver fibrosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. He also demonstrated that SAMe treatment improved survival in patients with liver cirrhosis. These studies were the basis for the commercialization of SAMe as a therapeutic drug. Since 1999, he focused his research in the study of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), the most common cause of chronic liver disease in Western countries. He discovered that human NASH is composed of different subtypes with distinct metabolomic profiles, paving the way to personalized treatment. In 2004, he was awarded the Spanish National Prize of Research in Medicine.