Faculty of Science, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) - Invited Speakers

Invited Speakers


Prof. Randy SCHEKMAN
University Professor, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley
Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Nobel Laureate of 2013 Physiology or Medicine

Professor Randy Schekman is a Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). He studied the enzymology of DNA replication as a graduate student with Arthur Kornberg at Stanford University. His current interest in cellular membranes developed during a postdoctoral period with S. J. Singer at the University of California, San Diego. Schekman’s laboratory investigates the mechanism of membrane protein traffic in the secretory pathway in eukaryotic cells. In recent years his lab has turned to aspects of vesicular traffic in human cells, most recently on the biogenesis and sorting of small RNAs into extracellular vesicles.

Professor Schekman had been appointed as the Chairman of the Selection Committee for Hong Kong’s Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine from 2016 to 2020. CUHK awarded Professor Schekman the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa in 2016. He has been also a collaborator with CUHK’s Area of Excellence Centre for Organelle Biogenesis and Function.

During the 1970s, Professor Schekman studied yeast cells using genetic approaches to define the genes required for protein secretion. The genes were then cloned and the protein products studied biochemically to understand the functions essential for protein translocation into and vesicular traffic from the endoplasmic reticulum.

Among his awards are the Gairdner International Award, the Albert Lasker Award in Basic Medical Research and the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which he shared with James Rothman and Thomas Südhof. From 2006 - 2011 he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Proceedings of the NAS. In 2011, he founded and until 2019 served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Open Access journal, eLife, sponsored by the HHMI, Wellcome Trust and the Max Planck Society. Beginning in 2018, Schekman assumed a leadership role in an effort supported by the Sergey Brin Family Foundation to identify and support basic research on the mechanisms of Parkinson’s Disease initiation and progression (https://parkinsonsroadmap.org).


Prof. David DRUBIN
Ernette Comby Chair in Microbiology Professor of Cell Biology, Development and Physiology, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley

Professor David Drubin has served on the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley for 35 years, where he holds the Ernette Comby Chair in Microbiology. His research combines live cell imaging, molecular and cell biology, genetics, biochemistry and mathematical modeling. The primary focuses of his research are the cytoskeleton and membrane trafficking. He studies these processes in budding yeast, human cells and zebrafish. In recent years, he has begun to use genome-edited human stem cells for investigations of how the cytoskeleton and membrane trafficking events are altered during differentiation to serve the specific biological demands of the differentiated cells. Through collaboration with Fyodor Urnov and his colleagues at Sangamo Biosciences, David’s lab became the first to use genome editing to express fluorescent fusion proteins at native levels in human cells to avoid perturbing the processes being investigated.

Professor Drubin has been an advisory board member at the CUHK’s Area of Excellence Centre for Organelle Biogenesis and Function. He had also been invited as the guest speaker for the Croucher Advanced Study Institutes and has served as co-Director of Croucher Summer Courses for many years with Prof. Liwen JIANG, as well as serving as a speaker. 

Professor Drubin served as Editor-in-Chief of the American Society for Cell Biology’s research journal, Molecular Biology of the Cell for 10 years, and as Chair of the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology for five years. He has also served as Head of the MCB Department’s Division of Cell and Developmental Biology and Graduate Program at UC Berkeley. He has served on numerous editorial boards, external department review panels, and NIH grant review study sections, and he has organized several international research conferences. In 1999 he was Program Chair for the American Society for Cell Biology’s annual national meeting.

Professor Drubin his bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry at UC Berkeley working on bacterial transcription factor enzymology with Michael J. Chamberlin, and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Biophysics with Marc Kirschner at the University of California, San Francisco working on microtubule-associated tau protein in neurons. He performed studies on yeast cell biology as a Hellen Hay Whitney Fellow with David Botstein at MIT. Among the awards he has received as a faculty member are the Searle Scholar Award, the American Cancer Society Faculty Research Award, the Ira Herskowitz Award, an NIH Merit Award, and election to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Association for Advancement to Science. He is a fellow of the American Society for Cell Biology and a Senior Investigator at the Allen Institute for Cell Science.