Schekman's laboratory developed genetic and biochemical approaches to dissect the process of protein secretion in the baker's yeast, S. cerevisiae. The genes and proteins his lab discovered in yeast were found to organize the secretory pathway in all eukaryotes and to be involved in such specialized processes as synaptic transmission in nerve cells and hormone secretion in mammals.
His work laid the foundation for recombinant expression of important secretory and membrane proteins such as insulin and hepatitis surface antigen in yeast and used for treatment of diabetes and for immunization to protect against infection by hepatitis B virus. Recently, Schekman's lab has probed the molecular mechanism of defects in secretion that lead to human diseases of development such as spina bifida.
Previous Winners of the Massry Prize
- Professor Michael Berridge in the field of Signal Transduction (1996)
- Professor Judah Folkman in the field of Growth Factors (1997)
- Professor Mark Ptashne in the field of Regulation of Transcription (1998)
- Professor Gunter Blobel in the field of Protein Trafficking (1999)
Professor Blobel received the 1999 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine two months after his receipt of the Massry Prize.
- Professor Leland H. Hartwell in the field of Cell Cycle (2000)
Professor Hartwell won the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine one year after he received the Massry Prize.
- Professor Avram Hershko and Professor Alexander Varshavsky in the field of Proteolysis and the Ubiquitin System (2001)
Professor Hershko won the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry three years after he won the Massry Prize.
- Professor Mario Capecchi and Professor Oliver Smithies (2002)
They received the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine five years after they won the Massry Prize.
- Professor Roger Kornberg, Professor David Allis and Professor Michael Grunstein in the field of Nuclear Chromatin (2003)
Professor Kornberg won the 2006 Nobel Prize in Chemistry three years after he received the Massry Prize.
- Professor Ada Yonath and Professor Harry Nolla in the field of Ribosomal Structure (2004)
Professor Yonath won the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry five years after she received the Massry Prize.
- Professor Andrew Fire, Professor Craig Mello and Professor David Baulcomb in the field of RNAi (2005)
Professor Fire and Professor Mello won the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine one year after they received the Massry Prize.
- Professor Akira Endo in the field of Novel Therapies specifically for the Discovery of Statins (2006)
- Professor Michael Phelps for the development of the Pet Scan and It’s Clinical Application (2007)
- Professor Shinya Yamanaka, Professor James A. Thomson, and Professor Rudolf Jaenisch for their work in the field of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (2008)
- Professor Gary Ruvkun and Professor Victor Ambros for their work in the field of Micro RNA (2009)
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