Yale cell biologist, Ira Mellman, one of three Americans honored by EMBO

10/31/05



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New Haven, Conn. -- Ira Mellman, Chair and Sterling Professor of the Department of Cell Biology at Yale University School of Medicine, is one of the three Americans elected an Associate Member as the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) announced the 40 leading life scientists elected to its membership for 2005.

EMBO elects members annually on the basis of their proven excellence in research. Over 1,200 of Europe's foremost researchers have been recognized by EMBO for key work as the very best in their field, and 38 members have received the Nobel Prize. Only 60 investigators outside of Europe have been honored as elected EMBO associate members.

"It is a real honor to be one of the very few U.S. scientists to be recognized by our most distinguished European colleagues by election to EMBO membership," said Mellman. "Science is truly an international endeavor, and I certainly plan to use this connection to further scientific exchange at all levels."

Mellman uses a combination of biochemical, genetic, and imaging methods to understand complex functions of cell biology. His work has revealed basic biological mechanisms that regulate the immune responses, particularly how dendritic cells initiate and control all antigen-specific immune responses.

Another area of his research involves cell polarity and asymmetry and the molecular mechanisms that sort, target, and transport cell membrane components to their different and appropriate membrane locations in many different types of cells.

He joined the Yale faculty of Cell Biology in 1981 after completing his undergraduate training at Oberlin College, receiving his Ph.D. in Human Genetics from Yale University, and beginning his academic faculty career at Rockefeller University. He served as Founding Director of Yale's coordinated graduate Program in Biological and Biomedical Sciences from 1997 2001.

Mellman holds a joint appointment in the Department of Immunobiology at Yale University School of Medicine, and is an Affiliate Member of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. Tenured in 1991, he was named Sterling Professor and Chair of the department of Cell Biology in 2000 and Scientific Director of the Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center in 2003.

Among his many honors, Mellman is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and of the Leukemia Society of America, and he has been the recipient of a Swebilius Award, the President's Research Development Award (Leukemia Society of America) and the Yale Science and Engineering Society Medal.

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