George Emil Palade (1912–2008)

George Emil Palade

1912 George Emil Palade was born at Iasi, within a family of teachers (father-Philosophy teacher; mother-high school teacher). He was a Romanian-American cell biologist. He was described as "the most influential cell biologist ever". In 1974 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine, together with Albert Claude and Christian de Duve.

1930 He enrolled as a student within Medicine Faculty of University in Bucharest.

1940 He got the title of Doctor of Medicine with a thesis about some problems of histological structures.

1942-1945 Palade worked for Medical Staff of Romanian Army.

1946 He married industrialist Nicolae Malaxa’s daughter, Irina Malaxa, and together they had two children: a daughter, Georgia Palade Van Dusen and a son, Philip Palade. He left with his wife to USA where he was employed as a researcher for Rockefeller University in New York. There he met Albert Claude, the scientist who would become his mentor. Claude was working for Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research and invited Palade to work with him within cellular pathology department. George Palade realized the great importance of electronic microscopy and biochemistry for cytological studies. As he was not a biochemist, Palade initiated a partnership with Philip Siekevitz. Together they combined cell fractionation methods with electronic microscopy, producing cellular components that were morphologically homogenous. Biochemical analyse of isolated mithocondrial fractions definitely established the role of these subcellular organs as a major component which produces energy.



The most important element of Palade’s researches was the explanation of cellular mechanism of protein production. He highlighted intracytoplasmic particles rich in ARN where byosynthesis of proteins is made; they are called ibosomes or Palade’s corpuscles. Together with Keith Porter edited The Journal of Cell Biology magazine, one of the most important scientific publications about cellular biology.

1961 G.E. Palade was elected member of Academy of Sciences in USA.

1973 He left Rockefeller Institute and joined Yale University.

1974 Dr. Palade got Nobel Award for Physiology or Medicine, together with Albert Claude and Christian of Duve “for discoveries concerning the functional organization of the cell that were seminal events in the development of modern cell biology”, regarding his medical researches done at Rockefeller Institute for Medical Researches.



Palade’s presentation within the ceremony of Nobel Award official conferring took place on the 12th of December, 1974, with the theme: “Intracellular Aspects of the Process of Protein Secretion”. The text was published in 1992 by Nobel Award Foundation.

1975 George Palade was elected honorary member of Romanian Academy.

1986 On the 12 of March, president of USA, Ronald Reagan offered him National Medal for Science for “fundamental discovery” of an essential series of complex structures of high organization presented in all biological cells.

1989 He was elected honorary member of Romanian-American Academy of Arts and Sciences (ARA) AT University in California.

1990 He worked for University in San Diego (California).

2007 President Traian Basescu offered him “Romanian Star” National Order in rank of Collar.

2008 On the 8th of October, Emil George Palade passed away in USA being 96 year-old.

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