Three UCSF Faculty Members Named to Institute of Medicine

Robert Edward, David Julius, Jennifer Puck Receive High Honor in Health and Medicine

By Abigail Mortimore

Three UCSF faculty members are among the 70 newly elected members of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), which recognizes those who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service in the areas of medical sciences, health care and public health.

Robert H. Edwards, MDRobert H. Edwards, MD

The new members were announced Monday, Oct. 15, at the IOM’s 42nd annual meeting in Washington, D.C. The new UCSF members are:

  • Robert H. Edwards, MD, professor of neurology and physiology. Edwards has made fundamental contributions to the understanding of both neurotransmitter release and neurogenerative disease. His work has included the molecular cloning of the first opioid receptor – the opioid system controls pain, reward and addictive behaviors – and of the synaptic vesicle protein, SV2 – synaptic vesicles store various neurotransmitters that are released at synapse. He identified three distinct families of proteins that transport classical transmitters into synaptic vesicles. Edwards also is exploring the physiological and pathological roles of the Parkinson's disease-associated protein, alpha-synuclein. He has won a number of awards, including two Distinguished Investigator Awards from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, and recently received the John and Helen Cahill Family Endowed Chair in Parkinson's Disease Research.
  • David Julius, PhDDavid Julius, PhD
    David Julius, PhD, professor and chair of physiology and UCSF Morris Herzstein Endowed Chair in Molecular Biology and Medicine. Julius is credited with seminal discoveries regarding the molecular mechanisms by which the skin senses painful stimuli and temperature and produces pain hypersensitivity. His work on noxious stimuli has offered insight to scientists who aim to better understand and treat chronic pain. Julius has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Shaw Prize in Life Sciences Medicine, the Prince of Asturias Award and the Passano Award.
  • Jennifer Puck, MD, professor of immunology and pediatrics. Focusing on human primary immunodeficiency, Puck’s achievements have included mapping and identifying the genes for X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency (XSCID) and autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome (ALPS); a clinical trial of retroviral gene therapy for patients with XSCID who failed bone marrow transplantation; and definition of the disease and gene defects in STAT3 in Job syndrome, a multisystem disorder. Puck also developed a test, now part of the standard newborn screening panel in several states, which screens all newborns for severe lymphocyte disorders based on detecting T-cell receptor excision circles (TREC).
Jennifer Puck, MDJennifer Puck, MD

"Election into the IOM is both an honor and a commitment," said Sam Hawgood, MBBS, dean of the UCSF School of Medicine and vice chancellor of Medical Affairs at UCSF. "By being part of this influential organization, our most distinguished researchers serve to improve our nation’s health."

With this election, the number of UCSF faculty who are members of the IOM is 74. The IOM total active membership is now at 1,732, with 112 foreign associates and an additional 84 members holding emeritus status.

New members are elected by current active members through a highly selective process that recognizes people who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care and public health. At least a quarter of the membership is selected from outside the health professions from such fields as natural, social and behavioral sciences; law; engineering; and the humanities.

Established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, the IOM is recognized as a national resource for independent, scientifically informed analysis and recommendations on health issues. The IOM is unique in its structure as both an honorific membership organization and an advisory organization. With their election, members make a commitment to volunteer their service as members of IOM committees, boards and other activities.