James Rothman

Yale and a Life in Science
Date: 11 June 2014 

About the talk:
 The Speaker Series continued to bring outstanding speakers to the Club by hosting James Rothman, Professor of Cell Biology at Yale and the 2013 Nobel Laureate in Medicine.  The event kicked off with a drinks/canapés reception in the Drawing Room at the Oxford and Cambridge Club on Pall Mall, where people enjoyed catching up with fellow members in a festive summer atmosphere.  The talk itself was both insightful and entertaining, lucidly delivered by Professor Rothman in laymen’s terms to address the non-specialist.  His everyday analogies used to describe how proteins are delivered in the cell (and specifically, the machinery regulating vesicle traffic in human body cells - the discovery for which he was awarded the Nobel prize) captured the imagination of the audience, in particular the aspiring secondary school students who attended by special invitation.  In one instance, to help visualise the vesicle fusion mechanism in cells that is responsible for all human thought and action he compared it to FedEx trucks loading, transporting, and unloading different coloured cargo labeled with barcodes to uniquely identify the packages at their destinations.  There were anecdotal references to several contributors to cell biology, beginning with the founder of the field, George Palade, who was also a Professor at Yale and received the Nobel prize in 1974.  In the end, most people felt we had been treated to a rare and special gathering with an eminent scientist and a great communicator.

About the speaker: James Rothman (BC ‘71) is the Fergus F. Wallace Professor of the Biomedical Sciences at Yale, Chairman of the Yale School of Medicine's Department of Cell Biology, and Director of the Nanobiology Institute at the Yale West Campus.  He is also a Research Professor at UCL.  He earned his Ph.D. in biological chemistry from Harvard University in 1976.

For more information on Professor Rothman, please see: 

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