George Emil Palade

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George Palade
George Emil Palade.png
Palade was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1974
Born George Emil Palade
(1912-11-19)November 19, 1912
Iași, Romania
Died October 7, 2008(2008-10-07) (aged 95)
Del Mar, California, USA
Citizenship United States and Romania
Nationality Romanian
Fields Cell biology
Alma mater Carol Davila School of Medicine
Notable students Günter Blobel[1]
Known for
Notable awards
Spouse Marilyn Farquhar

George Emil Palade (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈd͡ʒe̯ord͡ʒe eˈmil paˈlade]; November 19, 1912 – October 8, 2008) was a Romanian-American cell biologist. He was described as "the most influential cell biologist ever";[3] in 1974 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine, together with Albert Claude and Christian de Duve. The prize was granted for his innovations in electron microscopy and cell fractionation which together laid the foundations of modern molecular cell biology,[3] the most notable discovery being the ribosomes of the endoplasmic reticulum – which he first described in 1955.[4][5][6][7]

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, and was previously elected a Member of the US National Academy of Science in 1961. He was also elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (ForMemRS) in 1984.[2]

Education and early life[edit]

George Emil Palade was born on November 19, 1912 in Iași, Romania; his father was a professor of philosophy at the University of Iași and his mother was a high school teacher. George E. Palade received his M.D. in 1940 from the Carol Davila School of Medicine in Bucharest.

Career and research[edit]

Palade was a member of the faculty at Carol Davila University until 1946, when he went to the United States[8] to do postdoctoral research. There, he joined Prof. Albert Claude at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research.[8]

In 1952, Palade became a naturalized citizen of the United States. He worked at the Rockefeller Institute (1958–1973), and was a professor at Yale University Medical School (1973–1990), and University of California, San Diego (1990–2008). At UCSD, Palade was Professor of Medicine in Residence (Emeritus) in the Department of Cellular & Molecular Medicine, as well as a Dean for Scientific Affairs (Emeritus), in the School of Medicine at La Jolla, California.[9]

In 1970, he was awarded the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize from Columbia University together with Renato Dulbecco winner of 1975 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",[10] related to his previous research carried out at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research.[11] His Nobel lecture, delivered on December 12, 1974, was entitled: "Intracellular Aspects of the Process of Protein Secretion",[12] published in 1992 by the Nobel Prize Foundation,[13] .[14] He was elected an Honorary member of the Romanian Academy in 1975. In 1988 he was also elected an Honorary Member of the American-Romanian Academy of Arts and Sciences (ARA).

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 ribosomes, 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 Swiss anatomist Ewald R. Weibel.[15]

Palade's coworkers and approach in the 1960s[edit]

The following is a concise excerpt from Palade's Autobiography appearing in the Nobel Award documents[8]

"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 Joel 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.".[12]

One notes also that the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded in 2009 to Drs. Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Thomas A. Steitz and Ada E. Yonath "for studies of the structure and function of the ribosome", discovered by Dr. George Emil Palade.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Palade is survived by his wife Marilyn Farquhar, a cell biologist at the University of California, San Diego, and a daughter and son from his first marriage.[17]


  1. ^ "The Palade Symposium: Celebrating Cell Biology at Its Best"
  2. ^ a b "Fellowship of the Royal Society 1660-2015". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 2015-07-15. 
  3. ^ a b "Prof. George Palade: Nobel prize-winner whose work laid the foundations for modern molecular cell biology". The Independent. 22 October 2008. Retrieved 2011-02-09.  Archived. (Internet Archive copy)
  4. ^ Grens, Kerry (February 1, 2014). "Palade Particles, 1955". The Scientist. 
  5. ^ George Palade, Nobel Winner for Work Inspiring Modern Cell Biology, Dies at 95
  6. ^ Autobiography written in 1974 for the Nobel Prize
  7. ^ Editor (2007). "Tribute to Professor George E. Palade". J. Cell. Mol. Med. (Romania) 11 (1): 2–3. doi:10.1111/j.1582-4934.2007.00018.x. ISSN 1582-1838. PMID 17367496. 
  8. ^ a b c "George E. Palade - Autobiography". 2008-10-07. Retrieved 2011-04-03. 
  9. ^ Professor George E. Palade - web page at the University of California at San Diego, School of medicine Archived March 30, 2004 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "The 1974 Nobel Prize for Medicine". Retrieved 2011-04-03. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b "Nobel lecture". 1974-12-12. Retrieved 2011-04-03. 
  13. ^ The Nobel Prize Lecture of George E. Palade (Pdf 3.78 MB), (1974) The Nobel Foundation, ISBN 981-02-0791-3
  14. ^ Nobel Lectures in Physiology or Medicine Archived July 14, 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Weibel, ER; Palade, GE (1964). "New cytoplasmic components in arterial endothelia". J. Cell. Biol. 23: 101–112. doi:10.1083/jcb.23.1.101. 
  16. ^ 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Nobel Foundation
  17. ^ y James D. Jamieson (November 8, 2008). "Obituary: "A tribute to George E. Palade". doi:10.1172/JCI37749. 


  • Singer, Manfred V (2003). "Legacy of a distinguished scientist: George E. Palade". Pancreatology (Switzerland) 3 (6): 518–9. doi:10.1159/000076328. ISSN 1424-3903. PMID 14730177. 
  • Haulică, I (2002). "[Professor doctor George Emil Palade at 90 years of age]". Revista medico-chirurgicală a Societăţii de Medici şi Naturalişti din Iaşi (Romania) 107 (2): 223–5. ISSN 0300-8738. PMID 12638263. 
  • Tartakoff, Alan M (November 2002). "George Emil Palade: charismatic virtuoso of cell biology". Nat. Rev. Mol. Cell Biol. (England) 3 (11): 871–6. doi:10.1038/nrm953. ISSN 1471-0072. PMID 12415304. 
  • Motta, P M (2001). "George Emil Palade and Don Wayne Fawcett and the development of modern anatomy, histology and contemporary cell biology". Italian journal of anatomy and embryology [Archivio italiano di anatomia ed embriologia] (Italy) 106 (2 Suppl 1): XXI–XXXVIII. ISSN 1122-6714. PMID 11730003. 
  • Farquhar, M G; Wissig S L; Palade G E (December 1999). "Glomerular permeability I. Ferritin transfer across the normal glomerular capillary wall. 1961". J. Am. Soc. Nephrol. (United States) 10 (12): 2645–62. ISSN 1046-6673. PMID 10589706. 
  • Raju, T N (October 1999). "The Nobel chronicles. 1974: Albert Claude (1899-1983), George Emil Palade (b 1912), and Christian Réne de Duve (b 1917)". Lancet (England) 354 (9185): 1219. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(05)75433-7. ISSN 0140-6736. PMID 10513750. 
  • Sabatini, D D (October 1999). "George E. Palade: charting the secretory pathway". Trends Cell Biol. (England) 9 (10): 413–7. doi:10.1016/S0962-8924(99)01633-5. ISSN 0962-8924. PMID 10481180. 
  • Motta, P M (1998). "George Emil Palade and Don Wayne Fawcett and the development of modern anatomy, histology and contemporary cell biology". Italian journal of anatomy and embryology [Archivio italiano di anatomia ed embriologia] (Italy) 103 (2): 65–81. ISSN 1122-6714. PMID 9719773. 
  • Porter, K R (July 1983). "An informal tribute to George E. Palade". J. Cell Biol. (United States) 97 (1): D3–7. ISSN 0021-9525. PMID 6345553. 
  • Tashiro, Y (January 1975). "[Accomplishment of Drs. Albert Calude and George E. Palade and the birth of cell biology]". Tanpakushitsu Kakusan Koso (Japan) 20 (1): 74–6. ISSN 0039-9450. PMID 1094498. 
  • Magner, J W; Ritchie E H; Cahill S C (January 1975). "Current medical literature". Journal of the Indian Medical Association (India) 64 (1): 20–2. ISSN 0019-5847. PMID 1094070. 
  • "George E. Palade". Triangle; the Sandoz journal of medical science (Switzerland) 9 (6): 229–30. 1970. ISSN 0041-2597. PMID 4927031.