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Cell biologist Mellman elected to European academy

Medicine@Yale, 2006 - Jan Feb


Ira Mellman, Ph.D., chair and Sterling Professor of Cell Biology, is one of three American scientists elected as foreign members of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) at the organization’s annual meeting in Warsaw in October.

Membership in EMBO is a life-long honor and scientists are elected on the basis of proven excellence in research. Among the organization’s members are some of Europe’s leading researchers, including 38 Nobel Prize winners.

EMBO was established in 1964 to create a central molecular biology laboratory and to build a network that would enhance interactions among European laboratories. Currently there are more than 1,200 EMBO members in Europe, and only 60 investigators outside of Europe have been named as associate members.

Mellman uses a combination of biochemical, genetic and imaging methods to understand complex functions of cell biology, especially in the immune system. Another area of his research involves the molecular mechanisms that sort, target and transport cell membrane components to appropriate locations in different types of cells.

After receiving his undergraduate degree at Oberlin College, Mellman earned his doctorate in genetics from Yale in 1978. He began his academic career as a postdoctoral fellow and an assistant professor at Rockefeller University and then joined the Yale faculty in 1981.

From 1997 to 2001 Mellman served as founding director of Yale’s Combined Program in Biological and Biomedical Sciences, which united all the disparate department-based graduate programs at the School of Medicine and the main Yale campus.

Mellman, who holds a joint appointment in the Department of Immunobiology, is editor-in-chief of The Journal of Cell Biology and is on the editorial boards of Cell and The Journal of Experimental Medicine. He is an affiliate member of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and was named scientific director of the Yale Cancer Center in 2003.

He holds a senior fellowship at Lincoln College, University of Oxford, where he served as Newton-Abraham Professor. Mellman is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; a member of numerous advisory boards in the public and private sectors in the U.S., Europe and Australia; the recipient of an NIH MERIT award and the Yale Science and Engineering Society Medal. Mellman has delivered endowed lectures throughout the world, including the NIH Director’s Lecture.