Kornfeld awarded E.B. Wilson Medal

Stuart A. Kornfeld, MD, the David C. and Betty Farrell Professor of Medicine, has received the E.B. Wilson Medal, the highest scientific honor awarded by the American Society for Cell Biology.

Kornfeld was presented the medal Dec. 14 during the society’s annual meeting in Philadelphia. He shares the 2010 award with James E. Rothman, PhD, of Yale University School of Medicine, and Randy W. Schekman, PhD, of the University of California, Berkeley.

“I am deeply honored to be recognized by the American Society for Cell Biology with the E.B. Wilson award,” Kornfeld says. “It is very special to share this award with Jim Rothman and Randy Schekman, whose research I have admired for many years.”


The award is named after Edmund Beecher Wilson, credited as America’s first cell biologist, and recognizes far-reaching contributions to cell biology over a lifetime in science.

“Stuart Kornfeld is the quintessential physician-scientist and mentor,” says Philip D. Stahl, PhD, the Edward C. Mallinckrodt Jr. Professor and head of Cell Biology and Physiology. “His discovery of the enzymatic pathway responsible for lysosomal enzyme targeting, studies that are now part of most biochemistry textbooks, is just one of many examples of the high quality work that Dr. Kornfeld and his late wife and collaborator Dr. Rosalind Kornfeld have contributed.”

Kornfeld is professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology, professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics and a hematology specialist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. He earned a medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine in 1962.

After post-graduate training at the National Institutes of Health, Kornfeld returned to Washington University as an instructor in medicine. He remained at the university, building a career that included achieving full professorship in the brief span of six years and serving as directors of the divisions of oncology and hematology. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Earlier this year, he received one of the highest awards in academic medicine, the George M. Kober Medal, from the Association of American Physicians.

Kornfeld is best known for his research into how proteins are shuttled through cells. He has been particularly interested in lysosomal enzymes, which must make their way to the cells’ lysosomes to help digest molecules and cell parts that are no longer needed and help cells rid themselves of viruses and bacteria. Kornfeld investigates the processes and signals cells use to sort, package and transport these proteins.

The American Society for Cell Biology was founded in 1960 to promote and develop the field of cell biology. Today, it has approximately 10,000 members in the United States and more than 65 countries around the world.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked fourth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.