Nobel Laureate Dr. Randy Schekman



Friday September 11, 2015 from 2:30 PM to 4:00 PM EDT
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The Johns Hopkins University 
1620 McElderry St
Armstrong Building, East and West Lecture Halls
Baltimore, MD 21205

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Mark VanderZyl 
Johns Hopkins University 

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Nobel Prize Inspiration Initiative
Featuring Dr. Randy Schekman

Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Medicine are pleased to host Dr. Randy Schekman and the Nobel Prize Inspiration Initiative. This event seeks to bring Nobel Laureates into closer contact with the worldwide scientific community, especially with young scientists.

How Cells Export Proteins

Human cells have around 23,000 genes that code for at least that many different protein molecules. All proteins are made inside of cells by ribosomes that stitch amino acids together to make long chains, sometimes thousands of amino acids long, that fold up in a compact structure to give each protein its unique function.  A significant number of newly-made proteins end up outside of cells in the blood and lymphatic system (eg. antibody proteins) where they travel around the body to help fight infection and convey information between the organs (eg. insulin) in our body.  These extracellular or secreted proteins are conveyed within the cell along a highway system called the secretory pathway.  This highway is organized by a network of membranes that transfer proteins in capsules called vesicles from deep inside the cell to the cell perimeter.  The last step in the chain of events involves the fusion of the vesicle membrane with the membrane surrounding the cell resulting in the discharge of the interior content of the vesicle to the cell exterior.   

About Dr. Randy Scheckman

Dr Randy Schekman is a Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

As a graduate student at Stanford University, he studied the enzymology of DNA replication with Arthur Kornberg. His current interest in cellular membranes developed during a postdoctoral period with S. J. Singer at the University of California, San Diego. When he joined the faculty at Berkeley, he developed a genetic and biochemical approach to the study of eukaryotic membrane traffic, which reveals how proteins enter and move between membrane-bound compartments of cells.

Among the honours he has earned is the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2013 – which he shared with James Rothman of Yale University and Thomas Südhof of Stanford University – for their discoveries of the mechanism regulating vesicle traffic, a major cellular transport system.

In 1999, he was elected President of the American Society for Cell Biology. In 2002 he was appointed Editor-in-Chief of the Annual Reviews of Cell and Developmental Biology. From 2006 – 2011, he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2011, he was appointed Editor-in-Chief of the open access journal, eLife, sponsored by the HHMI, The Wellcome Trust/UK and the Max Planck Society. Earlier in 2015, Dr Schekman was appointed by the Board of Regents as a system-wide University Professor at the Berkeley campus.

The student model Bausch & Lomb microscope that he bought from money earned from odd jobs as a junior high school student now resides in the Nobel Museum in Stockholm.


About the Nobel Prize Inspiration Initiative

The Nobel Prize Inspiration Initiative (NPII)* is a global programme designed to help Nobel Laureates share their inspirational stories and insights. By taking Nobel Laureates on visits to universities and research centres around the world, and by capturing their thoughts on video, the Initiative seeks to bring the Laureates into closer contact with the worldwide scientific community, and especially with an audience of young scientists.

The Initiative is organised by Nobel Media, the company managing media rights for the Nobel Prize, in partnership with AstraZeneca, a global innovation-driven biopharmaceutical company that focuses on scientific leadership as a key strategic priority. Since 2010, Nobel Media and AstraZeneca have together arranged events in China, India, South Korea, Europe, Russia, Brazil and the United States.

Each Nobel Prize Inspiration Initiative event lasts two to three days, during which a Nobel Laureate participates in a series of lectures, Q&A sessions and discussion panels, with particular emphasis on promoting informal interactions with younger scientists.

For more information about NPII, visit