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Nobel Laureate Randy Schekman to give Max Birnstiel Lecture at the IMP

24 Nov 2015

The IMP cordially invites you to attend the talk “Biogenesis and function of the autophagosome membrane” by Randy Schekman, University of California, Berkeley. Date: Wednesday, 2 December 2015, 11.00 a.m. Venue: IMP Lecture Hall, Dr. Bohr-Gasse 7, 1030 Vienna.

Randy Schekman’s research interest focuses on intracellular transport systems. Cells in our body produce numerous molecules that need to be shuttled to other compartments within the cell or secreted out of the cell. For this purpose, the molecules are incorporated into tiny vesicles which in turn can merge with other vesicles or empty their contents to the extracellular space.

The traffic inside the cell can be compared to what is going on during rush hour in a busy metropolitan area. Despite the seemingly chaotic situation, drivers know how to follow signs and roadways to find their way. Randy Schekman’s team looks at how different cellular proteins read and interpret molecular signposts within the cell.

Many discoveries concerning biological membranes and transport within cells have been made studying the simple organism of yeast. Most of them also apply to higher organisms such as humans. Increasing our knowledge of cellular transport helps to understand a number of diseases in which these mechanisms are corrupted. One of the conditions that are studied in the Schekman-lab is Alzheimer’s disease. The protein-accumulation in the brains of affected individuals might be due to severe roadblocks in the cells’ transport-system.

About Randy Schekman
Randy Schekman was born Saint Paul, Minnesota, in 1948. He obtained his Bachelor degree in Molecular Biology at the University of California, Los Angeles and his PhD in Biochemistry from Stanford University in 1975. As a postdoctoral student, he worked with John Signer at the University of California, San Diego. In 1976, he became Assistant Professor at the University of California, Berkeley where he is currently Professor for Molecular and Cell Biology. In 2013, the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Randy Schekman, together with James Rothman and Thomas Südhof.

About the Max Birnstiel Lectures
The Max Birnstiel Lectures are a special series of seminars at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) in Vienna and represent the highest award that the IMP can give to outside scientists. They are named after the founding director of the institute, Max L. Birnstiel, who passed away in 2014. Each year, around six scientists of the life sciences are invited to deliver one of these lectures, among them a number of Nobel Prize laureates. The Max Birnstiel Lectures attract considerable attention on campus and within the wider scientific community and invariably draw a large audience to the IMP.

About the IMP
The Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) in Vienna is a basic biomedical research institute largely sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim. With over 200 scientists from 35 nations, the IMP is committed to scientific discovery of fundamental molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying complex biological phenomena. Research areas include cell and molecular biology, neurobiology, disease mechanisms and computational biology. The IMP is located at the Vienna Biocenter.

Heidemarie Hurtl
IMP Communications
T: +43 1 79730 3625
E: hurtl(at)

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