Prof. Randy W. Schekman

Nobel Laureate for Medicine at the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology of the University of California/USA, March, 2024


Professor Randy Wayne Schekman is an American cell biologist at the University of California, Berkeley who shared the 2013 Nobel Prize for Medicine with James Rothman and Thomas C. Südhof for their ground-breaking work on cell membrane vesicle trafficking. Bubblelike vesicles transport molecules such as enzymes, hormones and neurotransmitters within cells, carrying their cargo to specific destinations in a highly orchestrated process. When the vesicle transport system malfunctions, disease results; many such diseases are associated with genetic defects. 

After completing a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology at the University of California, Los Angeles, Randy Schekman attended Stanford University, where he performed his graduate research in the laboratory of American biochemist and physician Arthur Kornberg. He earned a doctorate in biochemistry in 1974, and after completing his postdoctoral studies, he became an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley, where he later received a professorship in molecular and cell biology.

At Berkeley Professor Schekman began investigating networks of intracellular membranes associated with the vesicle transport of proteins in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. With the aid of others in his laboratory he screened yeast for mutations that blocked the secretion of certain enzymes from cells.

The work led to the discovery of membrane fusion regulator proteins encoded by SEC genes. The regulator encoded by SEC1 was later found to interact with SNARE proteins which had been characterized by Professor Rothman to have important functions in vesicle membrane fusion. In subsequent work Professor Schekman and his colleagues discovered that nearly two dozen genes play a role in vesicle transport. They characterized the function of each gene’s protein and elucidated the sequence in which the proteins act to effect transport. Professor Schekman’s work also provided insight into mechanisms of vesicle budding and protein transport from the endoplasmic reticulum.

Prof. Randy Schekman was the recipient of the 1996 Gairdner Foundation International Award and the 2002 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1992 and in 2000 became a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

He is the former editor-in-chief of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and the former editor of Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology. 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.

Since 2018 Professor Schekman has served as the Scientific Director of Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s Disease, a major philanthropic effort organized along with The Michael J. Fox Foundation to identify molecular and cellular mechanism in the initiation and progression of Parkinson’s Disease.

Topics of keynote speeches:
  • The role of basic science in biotechnology
  • The role of public universities as an engine for social change

Monday, March 25, 2024:

14:00  Public keynote speech and dialogue at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok
– Further information and free seat reservation: phone 02-218-3126, email (

Tuesday, March 26, 2024:

14:00  Public keynote speech and dialogue at Khon Kaen University in Khon Kaen
– Further information and free seat reservation: phone 043-202-059, email (

Wednesday, March 27, 2024:

14:00  Public keynote speech and dialogue at Prince of Songkla University in Songkla
– Further information and free seat reservation: phone 074-446-824, email (