Former American Cancer Society Grantee Shares Nobel Prize in Medicine

American researcher James Rothman, a former American Cancer Society grantee, has won a share of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, the Nobel Assembly announced on Monday. Dr. Rothman will share the award with fellow American researcher Randy Schekman and German-born researcher Thomas Suedhof.

Work by these scientists has helped reveal how molecules like hormones, enzymes, and neurotransmitters are transported inside and between cells in the body. This has helped researchers gain a better understanding of a range of diseases and disorders.

Dr. Rothman received his PhD from Harvard Medical School in 1976, was a postdoctoral fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and moved in 1978 to Stanford University in California, where he started his research on the vesicles of the cell. Rothman has also worked at Princeton University, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Institute and Columbia University. In 2008, he joined the faculty of Yale University, where he is currently Professor and Chairman in the Department of Cell Biology.

While at Stanford University in 1982, Dr. Rothman received a five-year American Cancer Society research grant to study the biochemistry of the Golgi apparatus, part of the machinery that enables cell parts called vesicles to attach to target specific membranes, delivering molecules to other parts of the cell or outside of the cell.

Since 1946, the American Cancer Society has funded 47 Nobel Prize winners, a track record that is unmatched among non-profit cancer research funding programs. See a complete list of winners, or learn more about the American Cancer Society research program.

“We are extremely proud to see Dr. Rothman receive this honor, becoming the 47th American Cancer Society grantee to be awarded the Nobel Prize,” said John R. Seffrin, Ph.D., American Cancer Society chief executive officer. “This remarkable track record points to the strong role the American Cancer Society’s research grants program plays identifying and supporting research into the fundamentals of cancer and other diseases. We are confident that among the hundreds of early-career researchers across the nation who currently receive American Cancer Society funding are other scientists whose breakthrough ideas will one day be recognized with this high honor.”  

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