University of California, San Diego


October 10, 2008


SUBJECT:    The passing of Nobel Laureate George Palade, M.D.

Nobel Laureate George Palade, M.D., universally considered the father of modern cell biology, died at his Del Mar home on Tuesday, October 7, 2008 after a long illness. He was 95.

The University of California, San Diego community mourns our respected colleague, friend and valued counselor. Dr. Palade was Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Medicine, and founding Dean for Scientific Affairs at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

Dr. Palade’s impact on the course of science, as well as a personal impact on countless colleagues and students who were inspired by his teaching and his example, will live on in the work of so many brilliant scholars who benefited from his guidance and wisdom. These include many whom he personally recruited to UC San Diego.

He was internationally recognized for his pioneering use of electron microscopy and cell fractionation. He was best known for his work in establishing the pathway for synthesis and transport of proteins along the secretory pathway, illuminating how cells build and transport their protein building blocks. He was an extraordinary teacher and mentor to some of the leading scientists in the field today. An important mission throughout his life was to train new generations of scientists, based on his belief that scientific discovery is “an enterprise that continues generation after generation.”

He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine 1974 for his contributions to the understanding of cell structure, chemistry and function, a prize he shared with Albert Claude and Christian de Duve. Among his many international honors, he was the recipient of the National Medal of Science, the Gairdner Special Award, and the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research and the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize, and had been a member of the National Academy of Sciences since 1961. He also was a member of the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Belgian Academy of Medicine, and the Royal Society of London.

George Palade was recruited to UC San Diego from Yale University in 1990 to serve as UCSD School of Medicine’s first Dean for Scientific Affairs. He created the department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, which has risen to become one of the preeminent cell biology programs in the nation. During his tenure, was instrumental in bringing such important programs as the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research to UCSD.

To honor him, the Cellular and Molecular Medicine Building West was renamed the George Palade Laboratories for Cellular and Molecular Medicine in 2004, and more recently the George E. Palade Endowed Chair was established by friends and colleagues and the Richard Lounsbery Foundation. Plans for a memorial ceremony to celebrate his life and career are pending. Further information about efforts to honor Dr. Palade may be found at:


Our heartfelt condolences are extended to his wife, Dr. Marilyn Farquhar, and family.

Marye Anne Fox

David Brenner
Vice Chancellor –
Health Sciences
Dean of the School of Medicine