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George Emil Palade

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 09 December 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a2872
  1. Ned Stafford

    A Nobel prize winner for studies of the human cell and discoverer of ribosomes

    The Nobel prize winner George Palade was visiting the University of California in Berkeley in 1978 for a speaking engagement when a young graduate student approached and asked for advice.

    Some scientists would not have wasted time on an anonymous student, but Palade, then 65, listened intently. Young Novick explained that he had isolated the first secretory mutant, sec 1, in baker’s yeast. Biochemical assays showed that the enzyme invertase was accumulating inside the cell, but details of the process were hazy. “He urged me to do electron microscopy,” Novick says. “No one in my lab was doing that at that time.” The tip paid off, and the resulting research paper was published the next year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    Novick, now the George E Palade endowed chair of cellular and molecular medicine at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, says, “It was characteristic of him to …

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