The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2013

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2013 was awarded jointly to James E. Rothman, Randy W. Schekman and Thomas C. Südhof “for their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic, a major transport system in our cells”.

Nobelist Born Affiliation at the time of the award
James E. Rothman 3 November 1950, Haverhill, MA, USA Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA
Randy W. Schekman 30 December 1948, St. Paul, MN, USA University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Thomas C. Südhof 22 December 1955, Göttingen, Germany Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA, Howard Hughes Medical Institute


The 2013 Nobel Prize honours three scientists who have solved the mystery of how the cell organizes its transport system. Each cell is a factory that produces and exports molecules. For instance, insulin is manufactured and released into the blood and signaling molecules called neurotransmitters are sent from one nerve cell to another. These molecules are transported around the cell in small packages called vesicles. The three Nobel Laureates have discovered the molecular principles that govern how this cargo is delivered to the right place at the right time in the cell.

Randy Schekman discovered a set of genes that were required for vesicle traffic. James Rothman  unravelled protein machinery that allows vesicles to fuse with their targets to permit transfer of cargo. Thomas Südhof revealed how signals instruct vesicles to release their cargo with precision.

Through their discoveries, Rothman, Schekman and Südhof have revealed the exquisitely precise control system for the transport and delivery of cellular cargo. Disturbances in this system have deleterious effects and contribute to conditions such as neurological diseases, diabetes, and immunological disorders.

More details, please click The 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.


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