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Nobel Laureate Thomas C. Südhof to Give Inaugural Munck-Pfefferkorn Prize Lecture

Thomas C. Südhof
Thomas C. Südhof, MD (photo credit: Linda A. Cicero / Stanford News Service)
DATE: Sept 9
TIME: 10:00 AM

Thomas C. Südhof, MD, the Avram Goldstein Professor in the School of Medicine at Stanford University, will give the inaugural Munck-Pfefferkorn Prize Lecture on Sept. 9, 2016, at 10:00 AM in Auditorium H of the Williamson Translational Research Building. In 2013, Dr. Südhof, James E. Rothman, and Randy W. Schekman were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic, a major transport system in our cells."

The endowed Munck-Pfefferkorn Prize is named in honor of two luminaries from Dartmouth’s medical school: Elmer Pfefferkorn, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, and the late Allan Munck, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Physiology and Neurobiology. Both are regarded as outstanding scientists, teachers, and mentors, who inspired new generations of researchers and physicians.

Donations from many grateful protégés enabled the creation of the annual Munck-Pfefferkorn Prize Lecture, which invites one highly acclaimed scientist each year to lecture at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. Additionally, the guest lecturer is invited to name a junior scientist, anywhere in the world, to receive a $2,500 unrestricted grant to help support research or travel to a scientific meeting.

“We are especially pleased to welcome Dr. Südhof, who is a world renowned scientist, as well as a dedicated and devoted mentor to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows,” said Hermes Yeh, PhD, William W. Brown Professor in the Department of Molecular and Systems Biology at Geisel.

About Thomas Südhof, MD

Thomas Christian Südhof was born in Göttingen, Germany, on Dec. 22 in 1955, and obtained his MD and doctoral degrees from the University of Göttingen in 1982. He performed his doctoral thesis work at the Max-Planck-Institut für biophysikalische Chemie in Göttingen with Prof. Victor P. Whittaker on the biophysical structure of secretory granules. From 1983-1986, Südhof trained as a postdoctoral fellow with Drs. Mike Brown and Joe Goldstein at UT Southwestern in Dallas, TX, and elucidated the structure, expression, and cholesterol-dependent regulation of the LDL receptor gene.

Südhof began his independent career as an assistant professor at UT Southwestern in 1986. When Südhof started his laboratory, he decided to switch from cholesterol metabolism to neuroscience, and to pursue a molecular characterization of synaptic transmission. His work initially focused on the mechanism of neurotransmitter release which is the first step in synaptic transmission, and whose molecular basis was completely unknown in 1986. Later on, Südhof's work increasingly turned to the analysis of synapse formation and specification, processes that mediate the initial assembly of synapses, regulate their maintenance and elimination, and determine their properties. Südhof served on the faculty of UT Southwestern in Dallas until 2008, and among others was the founding chair of the Department of Neuroscience at that institution.

In 2008, Südhof moved to Stanford, and became the Avram Goldstein Professor in the School of Medicine at Stanford University. In addition, Südhof has been an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 1986 and an NIH Merit award investigator since 2000.