Randy Schekman, James Rothman, and Thomas Südhof were just awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery of the how the cell transports materials around. Theirs were fundamental discoveries that play into every aspect of cell biology, including fun things like “How neurotransmitters get into and out of nerves.”
Randy taught part of my undergraduate molecular and cell bio course way back in the late 90s (one of the other instructors was Nicholas Cozzarelli – I was blessed with some excellent teachers).
My grad school lab (the Hampton lab) had a close working relationship with Schekman’s group, as his ongoing discoveries about how molecules and materials move within the cell directly tied into our own research on protein degradation (gotta move all those protein parts somehow…).
Given the nature of Randy’s discoveries and the quality of his work, we all thought it was only a matter of time before we was awarded the Nobel. It’s awesome to see it finally happen.
You can read the Nobel press release here.
You can read Randy’s charming phone interview here. It’s wonderful that he received the Nobel while his dad is still alive.