The 2013 Nobel Prize in Medicine

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The 2013 Nobel Prize in Medicine has been awarded to U.S.-based scientists James Rothman, Randy Schekman, and German-born Thomas Sudhof for their separate discoveries of the biological mechanisms that regulate the transportation of proteins in cells. Their findings reveal how the fundamental units of life use tiny bubbles, known as vesicles, to ship and secrete hormones, brain chemicals, and other compounds throughout the cell structure. The prize will be presented formally on Dec. 10 in Stockholm, Sweden.

“Through their discoveries, Rothman, Schekman and Südhof have revealed the exquisitely precise control system for the transport and delivery of cellular cargo,” the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet wrote in a press release. “Disturbances in this system have deleterious effects and contribute to conditions such as neurological diseases, diabetes, and immunological disorders.”

Their three independent discoveries were critical to the development of the current understanding of vesicle trafficking. Schekman, a professor in the…

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