James Rothman
Rothman in 2013
James Edward Rothman

(1950-11-03) November 3, 1950 (age 73)
CitizenshipUnited States
Alma mater
Scientific career
FieldsCell biology
ThesisTransbilayer asymmetry and its maintenance in biological membranes (1976)
Academic advisorsHarvey Lodish
Websitemedicine.yale.edu/profile/james-rothman/ Edit this at Wikidata

James Edward Rothman (born November 3, 1950) is an American biochemist. He is the Fergus F. Wallace Professor of Biomedical Sciences at Yale University, the Chairman of the Department of Cell Biology at Yale School of Medicine, and the Director of the Nanobiology Institute at the Yale West Campus.[2] Rothman also concurrently serves as adjunct professor of physiology and cellular biophysics at Columbia University[3] and a research professor at the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, University College London.[4]

Rothman was awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, for his work on vesicle trafficking (shared with Randy Schekman and Thomas C. Südhof).[5][6] He received many other honors including the King Faisal International Prize in 1996,[7] the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize from Columbia University and the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research both in 2002.[8][9]


Rothman earned his high school diploma from Pomfret School in 1967, then received his B.A. in physics at Yale University in 1971 and his Ph.D. in biological chemistry at Harvard in 1976 working with Eugene Patrick Kennedy.[10]

Career and research

Following his Ph.D., Rothman did postdoctoral research with Harvey Lodish at Massachusetts Institute of Technology working on glycosylation of membrane proteins.[1][10] He moved to the Department of Biochemistry at Stanford University in 1978. He was at Princeton University, from 1988 to 1991, before coming to New York to found the Department of Cellular Biochemistry and Biophysics at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where he also served as vice-chairman of Sloan-Kettering Institute. In 2003, he left Sloan-Kettering to become a professor of physiology at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons and the head of Columbia's Center for Chemical Biology.[11] He moved from Columbia to Yale in 2008, retaining a part-time appointment at Columbia. Since 2013 he is also holding a position as Distinguished Professor-in-Residence at the Shanghai Institute for Advanced Immunochemical Studies of ShanghaiTech University.[12]

In 1995, Rothman joined the Amersham plc scientific advisory board. When Amersham was acquired by GE Healthcare in 2003,[13] Rothman was appointed as the Chief Science Advisor to GE Healthcare.[14]

Nobel Prize Ceremony: James Rothman receives his award from king of Sweden.

Rothman's research[15] details how vesicles—tiny sac-like structures that transport hormones, growth factors, and other molecules within cells—know how to reach their correct destination and where and when to release their contents. This cellular trafficking underlies many critical physiological functions, including the propagation of the cell itself in division, communication between nerve cells in the brain, secretion of insulin and other hormones in the body, and nutrient uptake. Defects in this process lead to a wide variety of conditions, including diabetes and botulism.

His former postdoctoral students include Gero Miesenböck (postdoc)[16][17] and Suzanne Pfeffer.[18]

Awards and honors

Rothman was awarded the 2010 Kavli Prize Neuroscience together with Richard Scheller and Thomas C. Südhof for "discovering the molecular basis of neurotransmitters release".[19]

Rothman was awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine together with Randy Schekman and Thomas C. Südhof for "their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic, a major transport system in our cells."[20][21][22]

Rothman is a Member of the National Academy of Sciences and its Institute of Medicine.[10]

Personal life

He is the son of Martin Rothman, a pediatrician, and Gloria Hartnick, both Jewish.[23]


  1. ^ a b "James E. Rothman, Faculty: Yale Department of Chemistry". Chem.yale.edu. Archived from the original on December 11, 2012. Retrieved October 7, 2013.
  2. ^ "James E Rothman". Retrieved October 7, 2013.
  3. ^ "P&S Adjunct Faculty Member Wins 2013 Nobel Prize". Columbia Newsroom. Archived from the original on October 15, 2013. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
  4. ^ "James E Rothman". UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology. January 29, 2018. Retrieved December 15, 2021.
  5. ^ James E. Rothman on Nobelprize.org Edit this at Wikidata
  6. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2013". Nobel Foundation. Retrieved October 7, 2013.
  7. ^ "KFIP Winners Archive" (PDF). King Faisal Foundation. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 6, 2012. Retrieved October 7, 2013.
  8. ^ Neill, Ushma S. (2015). "A conversation with James Rothman". Journal of Clinical Investigation. 125 (2): 460–461. doi:10.1172/JCI80641. ISSN 0021-9738. PMC 4319411. PMID 25642705.
  9. ^ Wickner, W. T. (2013). "Profile of Thomas Sudhof, James Rothman, and Randy Schekman, 2013 Nobel Laureates in Physiology or Medicine". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 110 (46): 18349–18350. Bibcode:2013PNAS..11018349W. doi:10.1073/pnas.1319309110. ISSN 0027-8424. PMC 3832004. PMID 24158482.
  10. ^ a b c "Yale's James Rothman shares 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine". Yale News. October 7, 2013. Retrieved October 7, 2013.
  11. ^ "Leading Cell Biologist Joins Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons". Columbia Medical Center Newsroom. Retrieved October 13, 2013.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "ShanghaiTech professor named 'Highly Cited Researcher'". Archived from the original on July 16, 2017. Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  13. ^ "GE Acquires Amersham for $9.5 Billion; 800p Per Share Offer in All Stock Transaction". www.businesswire.com. October 10, 2003. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  14. ^ "James Rothman Named Chief Scientific Advisor at VR Laboratories". FierceBiotech. November 8, 2011. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  15. ^ James Rothman's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  16. ^ Miesenböck, G.; Rothman, J. E. (1997). "Patterns of synaptic activity in neural networks recorded by light emission from synaptolucins". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 94 (7): 3402–3407. Bibcode:1997PNAS...94.3402M. doi:10.1073/pnas.94.7.3402. PMC 20382. PMID 9096406.
  17. ^ Miesenböck, G.; De Angelis, D. A.; Rothman, J. E. (1998). "Visualizing secretion and synaptic transmission with pH-sensitive green fluorescent proteins". Nature. 394 (6689): 192–195. Bibcode:1998Natur.394..192M. doi:10.1038/28190. PMID 9671304. S2CID 4320849.
  18. ^ Suzanne R. Pfeffer; James E. Rothman (January 1, 1987). "Biosynthetic protein transport and sorting by the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi". Annual Review of Biochemistry. 56: 829–852. doi:10.1146/ANNUREV.BI.56.070187.004145. ISSN 0066-4154. PMID 3304148. Wikidata Q39664981.
  19. ^ "JAMES ROTHMAN". Kavlifoundation.org. September 6, 2010. Archived from the original on October 15, 2013. Retrieved October 7, 2013.
  20. ^ Altman, Lawrence (October 7, 2013). "3 Win Joint Nobel Prize in Medicine". NY Times. Retrieved October 7, 2013.
  21. ^ "James E. Rothman, PhD '76, Shares Nobel Prize for Medicine". Harvard Magazine. October 7, 2013. Retrieved October 7, 2013.
  22. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2013". Nobel Prize. Retrieved October 7, 2013.
  23. ^ AP and ToI Staff. "Israelis lose out to US-German trio for Nobel medicine prize". www.timesofisrael.com. Retrieved March 29, 2023.