Alfred L. Goldberg, Ph.D.

Professor of Cell Biology
Harvard Medical School

Dr. Goldberg, a professor of cell biology at Harvard Medical School, has been on the faculty of that institution for nearly his entire academic career. His important discoveries have concerned the biochemical mechanisms and physiological regulation of protein breakdown in cells and the importance of this process in human disease.  His laboratory first demonstrated the non-lysosomal ATP-dependent pathway for protein breakdown, now termed the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. They first demonstrated the involvement of the 20S and 26S proteasomes in this process and discovered the ATP-dependent proteases responsible for protein degradation in bacteria and mitochondria.  Also of wide impact have been Dr. Goldberg’s studies showing that the ubiquitin proteasome pathway is critical in the clearance of misfolded proteins and in muscle atrophy seen in many disease states as well as in antigen presentation to the immune system.  He and his colleagues also first introduced proteasome inhibitors now widely used as research tools, and he initiated the development of the proteasome inhibitor, Bortezomib/Velcade, now widely used in the treatment of multiple myeloma.

Dr. Goldberg received his AB degree and his Ph.D. in Physiology in 1968 from Harvard University, after attending Cambridge University (as a Churchill Scholar) and Harvard Medical School.  Dr. Goldberg’s accomplishments have been recognized with many distinguished prizes, including the Novartis-Drew Award, Severo Ochoa Award (New York University), Knobil Prize for Medical Research (Univ Texas, the Gabbay Award for Biotechnology and Medicine (Brandeis University), Norman Alpert Prize for Medical Research (Harvard), and Ernest Beutler Prize for Basic Research (Amer Hematology Soc.). He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Institute of Medicine. He has received honorary degrees from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories, the Univ of Maastricht (Netherlands) and Univ. of Barcelona (Spain) and is among the 1% most cited authors in the life sciences.

Funded Research

Project Description Researchers Funding
Activation of the 26S Proteasome for the Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease

One fundamental feature of Alzheimer’s disease (and several related neurodegenerative diseases) is the build-up in neurons of abnormal protein aggregates composed of the protein tau. One of the primary mechanisms that cells employ to prevent the accumulation of such misfolded, potentially toxic proteins is rapid degradation by the 26S proteasome, a degradative particle present in thousands of copies in all our cells. Our lab long has been investigating proteasome functions and molecular mechanisms.

2016
$150,000