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James Rothman

James E. Rothman, Ph.D.

Sterling Professor of Cell Biology and Professor of Chemistry, Chair of Cell Biology and Director of the Nanobiology Institute at Yale University

Why do we need basic science?

Tuesday, April 25, 2023 | 7:30 p.m. | Music Recital Hall


We will explore with specific examples how curiosity-driven research into the fundamentals of life transformed human health in the 20 th century and promises to do so in our own times.


James E. Rothman is the Sterling Professor of Cell Biology at Yale University and chairs Yale School of Medicine’s Department of Cell Biology. His research has elucidated the molecular mechanisms and machinery governing vesicle traffic in the cell, explaining such diverse processes as the secretion of hormones like insulin, the action-potential controlled release of neurotransmitters in synaptic transmission, and the propagation of membrane compartments of the cytoplasm during cell growth and division.  This work has been recognized by many awards, including the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Biomedical Research (2002), the Kavli Prize for Neuroscience (2010), and the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (2013). Rothman graduated from Yale College (1971) with a BA in Physics, then attended Harvard Medical School (1971-1976) as an MD-PhD student, leaving before completing the MD program. Before returning to Yale in 2008 he held professorships at Stanford, Princeton, and Columbia Universities, and was Vice-Chairman of the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research.