Scott Emr

Samuel C. and Nancy M. Fleming Professor


Scott D. Emr is the Frank H.T. Rhodes Class of 1956 Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics and Director of the Weill Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology (Weill Institute). He received his Ph.D. degree in Molecular Genetics from Harvard Medical School in 1981. Prior to joining the faculty at Cornell, he has held positions at the University of California, Berkeley (Miller Research Scholar; 1981-1983), the California Institute of Technology (Assistant and Associate Professor; 1983-1991) and the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine (Distinguished Professor and Investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute; 1991-2007). Dr. Emr counts among his early honors a Searle Scholars Award and an NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award. He has been elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences (2007), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2004) and the American Academy of Microbiology (1998). In 2003, he was awarded the Hansen Foundation Gold Medal Prize for elucidating intracellular sorting and transport pathways. In 2007, he was awarded the Avanti Prize for his key contributions in understanding lipid signaling pathways. He has also served as a member of the Advisory Boards for the Pew Scholars Program in Biomedical Sciences and the Searle Scholars Program.

Research Focus

The Emr Lab studies the regulation of cell signaling and membrane trafficking pathways by phosphoinositide kinases, protein kinases, selective ubiquitin modifications, and vesicle-mediated transport reactions.

All eukaryotic cells maintain an elaborate system of vesicular transport pathways that convey cargo in and out of the cell via the endocytic and secretory systems. The Emr Lab's long-term goal has been to define the complex regulatory processes that ensure the temporal and spatial specificity of these membrane trafficking systems. Research has been focused in two major areas: (1) endocytic trafficking and receptor down-regulation and (2) phosphoinositide lipid- and ubiquitin-dependent membrane sorting pathways.

Research in the Emr Lab presently is focused in four major areas:
1. The assembly and function of each of the five complexes of the ESCRT pathway
2. Global screening to identifying novel genes/proteins necessary for trafficking transmembrane proteins through the endolysosomal membrane system
3. Regulation of endocytosis by arrestin-related ART proteins by selective ubiquitin modification of PM proteins
4. Regulation of synthesis and turnover of PIPs by lipid kinases and phosphatases

To learn more, please visit the Emr Lab website at:

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