New Chair of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology Appointed

December 11, 2003
Ron Vale, PhD, an internationally known cell biologist, has been named chair of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, effective January 1, 2004. David Kessler, dean of the School of Medicine, announced the appointment yesterday (Dec. 10). Vale, a UCSF faculty member since 1986, is the William K. Hamilton Distinguished Professor of Anesthesia and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. He currently serves as vice chair of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology. Outgoing chair Keith Yamamoto was recently named executive vice dean for the School of Medicine. Vale has pioneered research on how nature's tiniest motors power intracellular activity. Vale and his research group have used a combination of biophysical, structural, and cell biological approaches to understand the mechanisms and roles of molecular motors, small protein machines that transport molecules and organelles inside of cells. He was elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences in 2001 for his studies of molecular motors. He is also a member of the the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Earlier this year, the UCSF Academic Senate honored Vale with its Annual Faculty Research Lecture Award. Vale received a BA degree in biology and chemistry from UC Santa Barbara and a PhD degree in neuroscience from Stanford University. During his postdoctoral studies at the National Institutes of Health, he discovered the first motor protein, a class of mechanochemical enzymes now recognized to be fundamentally important in the function of all cells. "Dr. Vale is one of the most distinguished and creative cell biologists in the world, a stellar scientist and leader with a long record of contributions to our community," said Dean Kessler. "I am delighted to welcome him as chair." Vale said of his appointment: "UCSF is a wonderful scientific community, and I am pleased to serve and contribute to its growth." Related Links Tracking Nature's Tiniest Motors Vale Lab School of Medicine