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George Emil Palade (November 19, 1912 – October 7, 2008) was a Romanian cell biologist. In 1974, he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Albert Claude and Christian de Duve, for discovering the vacuole.

Palade also received the U.S. National Medal of Science in Biological Sciences for "pioneering discoveries of a host of fundamental, highly organized structures in living cells..." in 1986,( National Medal of Science), and was previously elected a Member of the National Academy of Sciencemarker in 1961.


George Emil Palade was born on November 19, 1912 at Iaşimarker, Romaniamarker; his father was a Professor of Philosophy at the University and his mother was a high school teacher. Both parents strongly encouraged George to further develop his abilities through higher education at university. George E. Palade received his M.D. in 1940 from the Carol Davila School of Medicinemarker of the University of Bucharestmarker, Romaniamarker. He was a member of the faculty of that famous school until 1945 when he went to the United States for postdoctoral studies. There, he joined Prof. Albert Claude at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Researchmarker.

In 1952, Palade became a naturalized citizen of the United States. He was a Professor at the Rockefeller Institute (1958-1973), Yale Universitymarker Medical School (1973-1990), and University of California, San Diegomarker (1990-2008). At UCSD, Palade was Professor of Medicine in Residence (Emeritus) in theDepartment of Cellular & Molecular Medicine, as well as a Dean for Scientific Affairs (Emeritus), in the School of Medicine at La Jolla, California.In 1970, he was awarded the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize from Columbia University together with Renato Dulbecco co-winner of 1974 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for discoveries concerning the functional organization of the cell that were seminal events in the development of modern cell biology.", related to his previous research carried out at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research. His Nobel lecture, delivered on December 12, 1974, was entitled: "Intracellular Aspects of the Process of Protein Secretion" , published in 1992 by the Nobel Prize Foundation ,

Palade was the first Chairman of the Department of Cell Biology at Yale University. Presently, the Chair of Cell Biology at Yale is named the "George Palade Professorship"

At the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, Palade used electron microscopy to study the internal organization of such cell structures as mitochondria, chloroplasts, the Golgi apparatus, and others. His most important discovery was made while using an experimental strategy known as a pulse-chase analysis. In the experiment Palade and his colleagues were able to confirm an existing hypothesis that a secretory pathway exists and that the Rough ER and the Golgi apparatus function together.

He focused on Weibel-Palade bodies (a storage organelle unique to the endothelium, containing von Willebrand factor and various proteins) which he described together with the Swissmarker anatomist Ewald R. Weibel.

Palade was married to Marilyn Farquhar, a cell biologist at the University of California, San Diegomarker.

Research note: Palade's coworkers and approach in the 1960s

The following is a concise excerpt from Palade's Autobiography appearing in the Nobel Award documents

"In the 1960s, I continued the work on the secretory process using in parallel or in succession two different approaches. The first relied exclusively on cell fractionation, and was developed in collaboration with Philip Siekevitz, Lewis Greene, Colvin Redman, David Sabatini and Yutaka Tashiro; it led to the characterization of the zymogen granules and to the discovery of the segregation of secretory products in the cisternal space of the endoplasmic reticulum. The second approach relied primarily on radioautography, and involved experiments on intact animals or pancreatic slices which were carried out in collaboration with Lucien Caro and especially James Jamieson. This series of investigations produced a good part of our current ideas on the synthesis and intracellular processing of proteins for export. A critical review of this line of research is presented in the Nobel Lecture."

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