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October 7, 2013

More on Nobel Prize winner: Son of former Haverhill pediatrician

HAVERHILL — Cell biologist James E. Rothman, who today was named co-winner of a Nobel Prize in medicine, was born in Haverhill in 1950, the son of Dr. Martin Rothman, a well-known local pediatrician, and Gloria Rothman.

He attended the Walnut Square and Whittier Middle schools before going to a private preparatory school and then to Yale University. He went on to Stanford University in 1978 and Princeton from 1988 to 1991 before joining Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

In 2002, Rothman won the pretigious Albert Lasker Award for Basic Research. At the time, he was head of the Laboratory of Cellular Biochemistry at Memorial Sloan-Kettering.

Harold Varmus, Sloan-Kettering president, spoke about the significance of Rothman's work when the Lasker Award was announced.

"Jim Rothman's research has answered some of the most fundamental questions about cell biology," said Varmus. "His contributions have allowed us to visualize processes inside the cell and get a very clear picture of how cells compartmentalize their functions and move those compartments in highly specific ways."

Sloan-Kettering director Thomas J. Kelly said Rothman's work was critical to the effort to conquer cancer.

"To understand what goes wrong in cancer cells, we first need to understand how normal cells function, and Dr. Rothman has contributed much toward that effort," Kelly said.

Lasker Awards have been given since 1946, honoring scientists, physicians and public servants who have advanced the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, prevention and cure of diseases.

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