UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology

Prof James Rothman

Prof James Rothman

Professorial Research Associate

Clinical & Experimental Epilepsy

UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology

Joined UCL
1st Oct 2012


          Professor James Edward Rothman, the Sterling Professor of Cell Biology at Yale University, is one of the world's most distinguished biochemists and cell biologists. He is Chairman of the Yale School of Medicine’s Department of Cell Biology and is the Director and founder of the Nanobiology Institute at Yale.  He is also a research professor at University College, London. Rothman graduated from Yale College (1971) where he studied physics.  He received his Ph.D. degree in biological chemistry from Harvard (1976) and was a student at Harvard Medical School from 1971 to 1973.  From 1976 to 1978, he completed a fellowship in the Department of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  From 1978 to 1988, he was a professor in the Department of Biochemistry at Stanford University.  Dr. Rothman was the E.R. Squibb Professor of Molecular Biology at Princeton University (1988-1991).  He founded and chaired the Department of Cellular Biochemistry and Biophysics at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (1991-2004), where he held the Paul A. Marks Chair and served as Vice-Chairman of Sloan-Kettering.  Prior to coming to Yale in 2008, Dr. Rothman was the Wu Professor of Chemical Biology in the Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, and Director of Columbia University’s Sulzberger Genome Center.

            Professor Rothman is renowned for discovering the molecular machinery responsible for transfer of materials among compartments within cells.  In so doing, Rothman provided a unified conceptual framework for understanding such diverse and important processes as the release of insulin into the blood, communication between nerve cells in the brain, and the entry of viruses to infect cells. Numerous kinds of tiny membrane-enveloped vesicles ferry packets of enclosed cargo. Each type of vesicle must somehow deliver its specialized cargo to the correct destination among the maze of distinct compartments that comprise the cytoplasm of a complex animal cell.  The delivery process, termed membrane fusion, is fundamental for physiology and medicine, as pathology in this process can cause metabolic, neuropsychiatric and other diseases.

            Dr. Rothman has received numerous awards and honors in recognition of his work, including the King Faisal International Prize for Science (1996), the Gairdner Foundation International Award (1996), the Lounsbery Award of the National Academy of Sciences (1997), the Heineken Foundation Prize of the Netherlands Academy of Sciences (2000), the Louisa Gross Horwitz prize of Columbia University (2002), the Lasker Basic Science Award (2002), the Kavli Prize for Neuroscience (2010), and the Nobel prize for Physiology or Medicine (2013).  He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (1993) and its Institute of Medicine (1995), and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1994). I can also be contacted at james.rothman@yale.edu.