Alexander F. Palazzo PhD

Alexander PalazzoAlexander Palazzo Associate Professor
Graduate Coordinator
Associate Chair
Mid-Career Excellence in Graduate Teaching & Mentorship
Graduate Faculty Education Awards


Alexander Francis Palazzo was born and raised in Montreal, Canada. As a graduate student in Gregg Gundersen’s laboratory at Columbia University, he discovered two major pathways that regulate cell polarity in migrating fibroblasts. After receiving his PhD in 2003, he moved to Tom Rapoport’s laboratory at Harvard Medical School where he was a Jane Coffin Childs Postdoctoral Fellow. There he investigated how newly synthesized mRNA is exported from the nucleus of mammalian cells and then targeted to specific sites in the cytoplasm, such as the surface of the endoplasmic reticulum. In 2009 he started his lab in the Biochemistry Department at the University of Toronto. His lab continues to study mRNA export and localization. In addition, Dr. Palazzo has explored how mRNA processing and nuclear export is used to extract biological information from a genome that is mostly filled with junk DNA.

Quote from the Winner

My view of science is that it is a way of thinking to generate a deeper understanding of how the world works. It is asking questions, finding answers, and sharing these new ideas with your peers. If you want to be a better scientist, you need to work on these skills. This is true whether you are a grad student, postdoc or PI. This philosophy guides how I mentor my own graduate students.

About the Award

This award was established in 2002 to recognize sustained contribution to graduate student mentorship exemplified by, but not limited to: major involvement in graduate student learning, enthusiastic and empathic critical appraisal of students’ work, timely assessment of students’ research programs including program advisory committee meetings and prompt turnaround of written work, and careful attention to a critical path laid out for students’ research.