Ardythe McCracken, Ph.D.

Foundation Professor Emeritus


I joined the Department of Biology at UNR in 1987, where I developed and taught courses in Cell and Molecular Biology for undergraduate non-science majors, biology majors, and graduate students.  I found that teaching molecular cellular biology was a challenge due to the exponential growth of knowledge in this field, yet working with the many bright students in my classes was extremely rewarding.  For my teaching efforts I twice received nominations for the Board of Regents' University Teaching Award, twice was a finalist for the College of A&S Teaching Excellence Award, and was also a College of Science Outstanding Teaching award finalist.  In 2000, I developed an accelerated combined BS/masters degree program in Biotechnology, in 2002, I was awarded the University of Nevada Foundation Professorship, and in 2005, I was identified as a Senior Scholar Mentor. 

During my tenure at the University of Nevada, Reno, my research program was supported by grants and awards from UNR, Reno Cancer Center, ACS, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, NIH, and NSF.  Among these, was a career development award supporting a summer research fellowship at UC Berkeley with Randy Schekman and a sabbatical at the University of Melbourne with M-J Gething.  Additional international research seminars, research collaborations, and teaching courses in protein trafficking, took me to Spain, Hong Kong, Russia, Australia, Slovenia, Croatia, New Zealand, three universities in South Africa, and several universities in the USA.  Together with graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, international collaborators, and undergraduate research students, we published 32 scientific papers in refereed journals, 3 book chapters, 57 abstracts in conference and symposium proceedings, and numerous invited reviews, reports, and news articles.  

As a scientific advisor, I benefitted from assignments at the Finish Academy of Science, Israel Science Foundation, University of Cape Town-South Africa, University of Pittsburg, Jefferson University Med Sch., Wiley and Sons Publishing, Boise State University, Penn St. University, The Educational Testing Services- Graduate Record Exam, NIH, NSF, and various cell and molecular biology scientific journals.  At the University, I served on numerous search committees for faculty and administrators, selection committees for faculty and student research awards, and served on the National Scholarship task Force.  At the end of my career I was awarded a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Molecular-Cellular Biology to Northern Caribbean University, Jamaica; where I worked with undergraduate students to prepare them for graduate school in the US and advised faculty towards the enhancement of their graduate programs. 

Recently, I was honored by an invitation to contribute an article for the Encyclopedia of Cell Biology, 2016,  a product of a global collection of editors and contributors organized by the American Society of Cell Biologists.  ASCB is a network of about 9,000 cell biologists in more than 62 countries.  Editors from this worldwide community chose topics covering every aspect of cell biology and invited the experts in each field to author articles for the encyclopedia.  I am extremely privileged to have been selected to contribute an article on my research findings completed during my tenure at UNR.  The first listed publication is the product of that invitation.  Several of the earlier publications in the list of Selected Publications describe the findings made by my research associate, students, and me that led to the discovery of ER associated degradation (ERAD).


  • Post Doctoral Fellowship- Protein Biochemistry and Protein Trafficking, University of Colorado
  • Doctor of Philosophy- Molecular Biology & Master of Science- Genetics, University of Delaware
  • Undergraduate studies- UCLA

Selected publications

  • Zacchi,L.F.,  J.J. Caramelo, A.A. McCracken, J.L. Brodsky    Endoplasmic Reticulum-Associated Degradation and Protein Quality Control, In: Ralph A Bradshaw and Philip D Stahl (Editors-in-Chief), Encyclopedia of Cell Biology, Vol [1], Waltham, MA: Academic Press, [2016], pp. 596-611.
  • Scott CM, Kruse KB, Schmidt BZ, Perlmutter DH, McCracken AA, Brodsky JL. 2007. ADD66, a gene involved in the endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation of alpha-1- antitrypsin-Z in yeast, facilitates proteasome activity and assembly. Mol Biol Cell. Oct;18(10):3776-87.
  • Kruse KB, Dear A, Kaltenbrun KB, Crum BE, George PM, Brennan SO, and McCracken AA. 2006. Mutant Fibrinogen Cleared from the ER via ERAD and Autophagy: An Explanation for Liver Disease. American J Pathology, 168:1299-1308. *Recommended for ASIP CME program
  • McCracken, AA and Brodsky, JL. 2006. Recognition and Delivery of ERAD Substrates and Alternative Paths to Cell Survival. In Dislocation and Degradation of Proteins from the Endoplasmic Reticulum, Current Topics in Micro and Immunology, 300:17-40 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
  • Kruse, KB, Brodsky, JB, and McCracken, AA. 2006.Autophagy: An ER Protein Quality Control Process. Autophagy, 2:135-137
  • Kruse, KB, Brodsky, JB, and McCracken, AA. 2006.Characterization of an ERAD Gene as VPS30/ATG6 Reveals Two Alternative and Functionally Distinct Protein Quality Control Pathways: Molecular Biology Cell, 17:203-12 (published November 2, 2005 as 10.1091/mbc.E04-09-0779). *Recommended by Faculty of 1000
  • Lee, RJ, McCracken, AA, and Brodsky, JL. 2005. Reconstitution of ER Associated Degradation (ERAD) using Yeast Membranes and Cytosol. Methods Molecular Biology 301:175-184
  • Lee RJ, Liu CW, Harty C, McCracken AA, Latterich M, Romisch K, DeMartino GN, Thomas PJ, Brodsky JL. 2004. Uncoupling retro-translocation and degradation in the ER-associated degradation of a soluble protein. EMBO J. 23(11):2206-15
  • Palmer EA, Kruse KB, Fewell SW, Buchanan SM, Brodsky JL, McCracken AA. 2003. Differential requirements of novel A1PiZ degradation deficient (ADD) genes in ER-associated protein degradation. J Cell Sci. 116:2361-73
  • McCracken AA, and Brodsky, JL. 2003. Evolving questions and paradigm shifts in endoplasmic-reticulum-associated degradation (ERAD). BioEssays 25:868-877.
  • Zhang, Y., G. Nijbroek, M. L. Sullivan, A. A. McCracken, and J. L. Brodsky. 2002. The Hsp70 molecular chaperone facilitates the ER associated degradation of the Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator in yeast. Mol. Biol. Cell 12:1303-1314
  • Brodsky, J.L., Werner, E.D., Dubas, M.E., Goeckeler JL, Kruse KB, McCracken AA., 1999   The requirement for molecular chaperones during endoplasmic reticulum-associated protein degradation demonstrates that protein export and import are mechanistically distinct.  Journal of Biological Chemistry 274, 3453-3460.
  • Werner, E.D., Brodsky, J.L., McCracken, A.A., 1996. Proteasome-dependent endoplasmic reticulum-associated protein degradation: An unconventional route to a familiar fate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 93, 13797-13801.
  • McCracken, A.A., Karpichev, I.V., Ernaga, J.E., et al., 1996. Yeast mutants deficient in ER-associated degradation of the Z variant of alpha-1-protease inhibitor.  Genetics 144, 1355-1362.
  • McCracken, A.A., Brodsky, J.L., 1996. Assembly of ER-associated protein degradation in vitro: Dependence on cytosol, calnexin, and ATP.  Journal of Cell Biology 132, 291-298.
  • McCracken, A.A., Kruse, K.B., 1993.  Selective protein degradation in the yeast exocytic pathway. Molecular Biology of the Cell 4, 729-736.