Thomas Südhof
  • 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine


German-American biochemist known for his study of synaptic transmission. Currently, he is a professor in the School of Medicine in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology. Südhof, James Rothman and Randy Schekman are the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine laureates "for their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic, a major transport system in our cells".

Education and Work Experience

1982, MD in medical science, the University of Göttingen
1983-2008, Postdoctoral Fellow, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Professor, Dept. of Molecular Genetics, UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Texas
1991-Present, Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
2008-Present, Avram Goldstein Professor at Dept. of Molecular & Cellular Physiology, Stanford University School of Medicine

Honors and Awards

2002, Member of the United States National Academy of Sciences
2007, Member of the National Academy of Medicine
2010, Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
2013, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Major Academic Achievements

From 1983-1986, Südhof trained as a postdoctoral fellow with Drs. Mike Brown and Joe Goldstein at UT Southwestern in Dallas, TX, and elucidated the structure,expression and cholesterol-dependent regulation of the LDL receptor gene. Südhof began his independent career as an assistant professor at UT Southwestern in 1986. When Südhof started his laboratory, he decided to switch from cholesterol metabolism to neuroscience, and to pursue a molecular characterization of synaptic transmission. His work initially focused on the mechanism of neurotransmitter release which is the first step in synaptic transmission, and whose molecular basis was completely unknown in 1986. Later on, Südhof's work increasingly turned to the analysis of synapse formation and specification, processes that mediate the initial assembly of synapses, regulate their maintenance and elimination, and determine their properties.