Dr. James E. Rothman is the Chairman of the Cellular Biochemistry and Biophysics Program of the Rockefeller Research Laboratory at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. He obtained his BA at Yale University, his PhD at Harvard University under Eugene Kennedy, did a post-doctoral stage in the laboratory of Dr. H. Lodish at MIT, and immediately landed a position in the Department of Biochemistry at Stanford University. After advancing to the rank of Professor in that institution, he became a Squibb Professor of Molecular Biology at Princeton University, and in 1991 became Chairman of the Program in Cellular Biochemistry of the Sloan-Kettering Institute. He is currently also the Vice-Chairman of that Institution.
Dr. Rothman was the first one to develop in vitro assays to reproduce the intricate intracellular movement, targeting and delivery of goods among organelles. These in vitro reconstitution assays continue to be the gold standard in the description of novel intracellular pathways. In addition, together with Dr. Gunter Blobel, Dr. Rothman has made major advances in the discovery of the recognition of the signal peptide of proteins during translation.
Together with Dr. Randy Schekman from Berkeley University, James Rothman developed and exploited the isolation and analysis of mutants of yeast which are defective in intracellular protein transport, and expanded these discoveries to the identification and cloning of the proteins that constitute the ubiquitous machinery of membrane docking and fusion.