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Guest Name
Dr Randy W Schekman
Guest Occupation
Nobel Prize winner, Editor, Doctorate in DNA replication, Professor, Investigator, Multi award winner
Guest Biography

Biography from:

Randy Wayne Schekman (born December 30, 1948) is a Nobel Prize-winning American cell biologist at the University of California, Berkeley,[6] and former editor-in-chief of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.[2][7][8] In 2011, he was announced as the editor of eLife, a new high-profile open-access journal published by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Max Planck Society and the Wellcome Trust launching in 2012.[9] He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1992.[10] Schekman shared the 2013 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with James Rothman and Thomas C. Südhof for their ground-breaking work on cell membrane vesicle trafficking.[5][11]

Schekman was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, to Alfred Schekman, an electrical engineer and inventor.[12] He graduated from Western High School in Anaheim, California, in 1966.[13] He received a BA in Molecular Sciences from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), in 1971. He spent his third year at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, as an exchange student.[14][2] He received a PhD in 1975 from Stanford University for research on DNA replication working with Arthur Kornberg.[15] He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1984 and Professor in 1994.

Since 1991, Schekman has been a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator,[16] Division of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, at the University of California, Berkeley. The Schekman Lab at that university carries out research into molecular descriptions of the process of membrane assembly and vesicular traffic[17] in eukaryotic cells[18][19] including yeast.[20] Before that, he was a faculty member with the now disbanded Department of Biochemistry at the same university.

In 2002, Schekman received the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research[21] and Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize of Columbia University along with James Rothman for their discovery of cellular membrane trafficking, a process that cells use to organize their activities and communicate with their environment.[22] He was awarded the Massry Prize from the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, in 2010. Schekman is also a member of the Selection Committee for Life Science and Medicine which chooses winners of the Shaw Prize.

In 2013, he was elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society. His nomination read:

    Using a brilliantly conceived genetic screen, Schekman isolated sec mutants that accumulate secretory pathway intermediates, he cloned the corresponding genes and he established biochemical reactions that faithfully reproduced specific secretory pathway events. These studies transformed the secretion field, previously descriptive and morphological, into a molecular and mechanistic one. The cell-free reactions that Schekman established led to his isolation of the Sec61 translocation complex, the (COPII) vesicle coat complex, and the first purified inter-organelle transport vesicles. The Sec proteins are strikingly conserved and the trafficking mechanisms that Schekman discovered are at the heart of neurotransmission, hormone secretion, cholesterol homeostasis and metabolic regulation.[4]

Schekman, Thomas C. Südhof, and James Rothman were awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine "for their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic, a major transport system in our cells".[5] Schekman "has already said he will donate his share of the prize money, $400,000, to create an endowment for the Esther and Wendy Schekman Chair in Basic Cancer Biology at UC Berkeley. Schekman’s mother and sister, for whom the post is named, both died of cancer." [23]

In December 2013, Schekman called for academic journal publishing reform and open access science publication by announcing that his lab at the University of California, Berkeley would no longer submit to the prestigious closed-access journals Nature, Cell and Science, citing their self-serving and deleterious effects on science.[24] He has criticized these journals for artificially restricting the number of publications accepted to drive up demand.[24] In addition, Schekman says the journals accept papers that will be cited often, increasing the prestige of the journal, rather than those which demonstrate important results.[24] Schekman has said the prestige and difficulty of publishing in these journals sometimes cause scientists to cut corners or pursue trends, rather than conduct research on important questions. Schekman is the current editor of eLife, an open access journal and competitor to Nature, Cell, and Science.[24] Papers are accepted into eLife based on review by working scientists.[24] Access to accepted papers is free.[24]