James Douglas Jamieson MD

Professor of Cell Biology; Special Advisor, MD/PhD Program


For most of my research career, I have focused on the processes of synthesis, trafficking and exocytosis of secretory proteins from the pancreatic acinar cell which has served as the paradigm for examining the “Intracellular Aspects of the Process of Protein Secretion”*.

My early work as a graduate student with George Palade at the Rockefeller University was involved in defining the role of the Golgi complex in the process which culminates in the formation of zymogen granules. Subsequently, among other topics, my laboratory examined the development and regulation of exocytosis of secretory proteins from the acinar cell, membrane biogenesis and polarity in epithelial cells, and the relationship of cell polarity to the basement membrane.

Later work on this topic examined in detail the role of low Mr GTPases in regulated exocytosis. Since regulated exocytosis is accompanied by compensatory endocytosis of excess membrane inserted into the apical plasmalemma, we went on to illustrate an essential role of the actin cytoskeleton in this process and have demonstrated that proteins required for formation of endocytic vesicles (clathrin, adaptors, dynamin etc.) assemble at sites of exocytosis prior to compensatory membrane retrieval. After more than 30 years carrying out cell biologic research with an impressive and accomplished group of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, I decided to close my laboratory in 2001 in order to focus my interests on teaching Cell Biology and Histology to first-year medical students.

As part of my teaching interest, I also direct the MD/PhD Program at Yale University School of Medicine. This allows me to be involved in the education of both medical students and graduate students. The dual degree Program is meant to provide trainees with a broad exposure to human biology and medicine, and to an in-depth and rigorous training in one of the scholarly disciplines relevant to medicine. The ultimate goal of educating this group of students is to bridge the gap between basic research and clinical medicine.

*Palade, G.E. Intracellular Aspects of the Process of Protein Secretion. Nobel Lecture, December 12, 1974. published in Science, 189:347-358, 1975.