October 10, 2008

Pioneer in Modern Cell Biology Dies

Nobel Prize winner George E. Palade, who helped give birth to the field of modern cell biology, has died at his home in Del Mar, Calif. He was 95.

Palade died Tuesday of complications of Parkinson's disease, his wife, Marilyn Farquhar, said.

Beginning in the 1940s Palade (pronounced pah-LAH-dee) began using electron microscopy and other techniques to discover tiny structures within cells and to help explain their functions, The New York Times said.

"In cell biology he is clearly the most influential scientist ever," Gunter Blobel, a professor at Rockefeller University, said.

In addition to his wife, Palade is survived by two children, two stepchildren and two granddaughters.

Palade was born on Nov. 19, 1912, in Iasi, Romania. He earned a medical degree from the University of Bucharest, then moved to the United States for further studies at New York University in 1946 and the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, now Rockefeller University, the following year.

Palade, who moved to Yale in1973, shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1974 with Albert Claude and Christian de Duve.

In 1990, at age 77, he became the first dean for scientific affairs at the School of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego. He retired in 2001.