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Two UCSF Rising Stars Among Forbes' '30 Under 30' List

By Kristen Bole

Two UC San Francisco post-doctoral scholars have been acknowledged in Forbes magazine’s “30 under 30” list, which is “a tally of the brightest stars in 15 different fields under the age of 30."

Jonathan Ostrem, PhD, a 29-year-old scientist, and David Weinberg, PhD, a 28-year-old faculty fellow, were honored from UCSF in the "science and health care" category.

Ostrem has made a promising breakthrough to target a cancer gene that has for decades eluded major drug development efforts in the pharmaceutical industry.

"I am truly honored and excited to be recognized on the Forbes list," said Ostrem, currently a UCSF School of Medicine student.

Weinberg is being honored for his work in the field of RNA molecular biology. He discovered a novel pathway for gene regulation and characterized the molecular components of the pathway.

Jonathan Ostrem, PhD

I feel honored to have been included on the list and receive this recognition," said Weinberg, who runs a lab at UCSF. "I'm familiar with and greatly admire the work of many of the other recipients, so to be included alongside them is truly humbling.”



In a study soon to be published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature, Ostrem and his colleagues at UCSF report on a way to disable a common mutation in the gene that encodes a protein known as K-Ras, the mutation of which wreaks havoc in lung cancer, and in many other cancers.

"Our work targeting K-Ras began almost six years ago and is a testament to the exceptional collaborative environment at UCSF," Ostrem said. "I firmly believe that success in science depends upon effective collaboration. The work for which I have been recognized was a team effort between a former postdoctoral scholar, Dr. Ulf Peters, and myself in the laboratory of Dr. Kevan Shokat, with critical insights and contributions from Dr. Martin Sos and Dr. Jim Wells."



David Weinberg, PhD

While a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Weinberg's work on gene regulation resulted in first-author publications in Science, Cell, and Nature as well as a patent, with potential applications ranging from improving winemaking to treating human disease. He then shifted his research focus to the regulation of protein synthesis and made key insights into how different proteins are made at different rates. 

"I owe a major debt of gratitude to my graduate school mentor, Dr. David Bartel, for providing me with the training, support and freedom to pursue a number of really exciting scientific questions in his lab," Weinberg said. "I'm also grateful for the opportunity that UCSF has provided me as a faculty fellow, allowing me to continue my scientific pursuits as an independent scientist."

The Forbes list highlights 450 prodigies in the fields of finance, tech, social, music, sports, science, games, education, law, media, marketing, art, energy, food and Hollywood.

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