Biological Sciences Chair Martin Chalfie Wins Nobel Prize

October 8, 2008

Dear fellow member of the Columbia community:

As you may already know, it was announced in Stockholm today that our Chair of Biological Sciences, Dr. Martin Chalfie, is sharing this year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry. We are extremely proud of his achievement and what it means for him, the University and society.

Dr. Chalfie joins an impressive list of Nobel laureates on our faculty in a diversity of fields, from literature and economics to physics and medicine. He is being honored for discovering the use of the green fluorescent protein to tag individual proteins inside a living cell -- a discovery first published some 14 years ago. Scientists have since used the green fluorescent protein in the study of damaged cells in the process of diseases such as Alzheimer's, genetic disorders and cancers.

This breakthrough is the result of a commitment to basic research, a primary focus of Marty Chalfie's work and a raison d'être of the University. As he eloquently stated earlier today, such basic research is often the gateway to important clinical applications that improve our lives. Please join me in offering our congratulations to Columbia's newest Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Martin Chalfie.


Lee C. Bollinger