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The 2021 Prize in
Life Science & Medicine

Scott D Emr

for the landmark discovery of the ESCRT (Endosomal Sorting Complex Required for Transport) pathway, which is essential in diverse processes involving membrane biology, including cell division, cell-surface receptor regulation, viral dissemination, and nerve axon pruning. These processes are central to life, health and disease.

 

Learn More About the Laureate

Scott D Emr

The Contribution

The Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine 2021 is awarded to Scott D Emr, Frank HT Rhodes Class of 1956 Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics and Director of the Weill Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology, Cornell University, USA for the landmark discovery of the ESCRT (Endosomal Sorting Complex Required for Transport) pathway, which is essential in diverse processes involving membrane biology, including cell division, cell-surface receptor regulation, viral dissemination, and nerve axon pruning. These processes are central to life, health, and disease.
 
For life to be possible, cells must put particular bio-components in the proper location and at the proper time. Here is where this year’s Shaw Laureate in Life Science and Medicine, Scott Emr, comes in. Emr made seminal discoveries in the field of intra-cellular vesicle trafficking. Vesicles are small membrane-bound, fluid-filled sacs that transport bio-components to different destinations inside cells. The destinations are called organelles, which are membrane-bound entities responsible for distinct cellular functions. In a landmark series of studies, Emr used elegant genetic strategies that enabled him to identify 40 genes that encode the components of the so-called ESCRT pathway (ESCRT stands for Endosomal Sorting Complex Required for Transport). Emr combined molecular, biochemical, and structural approaches to characterize the 40 ESCRT proteins and to elucidate their individual and combined roles.

 

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About the Laureate

Scott D Emr

Scott D Emr was born in 1954 in Jersey City, New Jersey, USA and is currently Frank HT Rhodes Class of 1956 Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics and Director of the Weill Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology, Cornell University, USA. He received his PhD in Molecular Genetics from Harvard Medical School, USA in 1981. He was a Miller Research Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, USA (1981–1983). He then worked at the California Institute of Technology, USA, where he was successively Assistant Professor and Associate Professor (1983–1991). Prior to joining the faculty at Cornell, he was a Distinguished Professor at the School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, USA and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (1991–2007). He is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


1 June 2021    Hong Kong