Marino Zerial graduated in biology at the University of Trieste, Italy in 1982 with a thesis on lysosomal storage disorders. He conducted post-doctoral experiences at the Institute J. Monod (Paris, France) and at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, EMBL (Heidelberg, Germany). He became group leader at the EMBL in 1989 and Max Planck Director and co-founder of the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, MPI-CBG, Dresden, Germany in 1998. He is Honorary Professor at the Medical Faculty, University of Technology, Dresden.
Marino Zerial has made key contributions towards the understanding of the molecular mechanisms of endocytosis. His work on Rab GTPases as master regulators of organelle biogenesis and membrane fusion has established key principles which are textbook knowledge. He has been working on various translational projects, including the role of endocytosis in bacterial infection, development of image-based high content screenings, delivery of macromolecule therapeutics and studies of human liver diseases.
Marino Zerial was elected EMBO Member in 1996. He was awarded several international research prizes, the 1994 FEBS Anniversary Prize, the Chiara D’Onofrio Prize (1999), and the prestigious Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize (2006).