In another move aimed at boosting its standing in the sciences, Yale has lured world-renowned scientist James Rothman ’71 from Columbia University to chair the School of Medicine’s Department of Cell Biology.

The University announced Rothman’s appointment on June 5. Part of his job will be to lead the expansion of the department with the launch of a new cell biology institute at the West Campus, the former home of Bayer HealthCare acquired by the University last summer.

“Jim Rothman is one of the most brilliant researchers of our time,” Robert Alpern, the dean of the School of Medicine, said in a statement, noting that the scientist brings “a combination of brilliance and intensity to his research.”

On the West Campus, Rothman will oversee the new Yale Center for High-Throughput Cell Biology, where researchers will “develop tools and techniques to rapidly decipher the cellular functions of the 25,000 known protein-coding genes in the human genome,” according to the statement.

Rothman, a Branford College alumnus, called it “a unique pleasure to return to Yale.”

“It is a privilege to lead the department … as we redefine molecular cell biology and catalyze its impact on medicine,” he said in a statement.