Yale’s Rosenbaum Honored by University of Siena

Joel Rosenbaum, professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology at Yale, has received an honorary degree in molecular biology from the University of Siena, Italy for his basic cell biological studies on flagella assembly in a green alga, which provided new insight into Polycystic Kidney Disease.

Rosenbaum, who has spent his recent sabbatical at Sienna, was acknowledged for his groundbreaking basic research on the formation and maintenance of cilia and flagella by a process known as Intraflagellar Transport (IFT). Cilia and flagella filaments act as motors in single-celled algae and as non-motile sensors in cells of many types from kidney tubules to the retina of the eye.

Rosenbaum’s research expanded to include analysis of the genes underlying the IFT process and led to new insights into the role of cilia and flagella in many human diseases where the function of these cell organelles was previously unsuspected. Notable among disorders related to defective cilia are Polycystic Kidney Disease, the most common fatal genetic disease in humans, blindness due to degeneration of retinal rod cells, diabetes, obesity, defects of limb development, and situs inversus, a condition in which the organs are misplaced to the wrong side of the body and show developmental abnormalities.

Rosenbaum, a faculty member at Yale since 1967, received his B.S. and M.S. and Ph.D. from Syracuse University, and a M.Sc.Ed. from St. Lawrence University. In 2006, he was named recipient of the E. B. Wilson Medal, the American Society for Cell Biology’s highest honor for scientific research in cell biology.

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Janet Rettig Emanuel: janet.emanuel@yale.edu, 203-432-2157