Former UTSW Neuroscience Chair Wins Nobel Prize

Dr. Thomas C. Südhof, adjunct professor of neuroscience and former chairman of the department at UT Southwestern Medical Center, was named a 2013 Nobel Prize winner for medicine Monday, for his and others’ research into how cellular transport systems work.

Südhof earned the prize alongside James Rothman and Randy Schekman.

“I’m absolutely surprised,” said Südhof. “Every scientist dreams of this. I didn’t realize there was chance I would be awarded the prize. I am stunned and really happy to share the prize with James Rothman and Randy Schekman.”

Südhof, now at Stanford University’s medical school, was recognized for work performed at UT Southwestern on synaptic transmission, the process by which brain cells communicate with each other via chemical signals passed through the spaces, or synapses, between them. Südhof spent 25 years at UT Southwestern, starting as a postdoctoral fellow in 1983 in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Brown, director of the Erik Jonsson Center for Research in Molecular Genetics and Human Disease, and Dr. Joseph Goldstein, chairman of molecular genetics, who shared the 1985 Nobel for medicine or physiology.

“We are immensely proud of Thomas Südhof,” Brown said. “While a postdoctoral fellow in our laboratory, he solved an important problem concerning cholesterol. We were overjoyed that he remained on our faculty for more than two decades, where he performed all of the experiments that led to today’s Nobel Prize. His discoveries explain how a batter can hit a 95 mph fastball that takes only four-tenths of a second to reach home plate. All Texans should share in our pride.”

The award is the seventh Nobel presented to a former or current UTSW employee.


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