Adah Almutairi, Ph.D.

Adah Almutairi is an associate professor at UC San Diego and is co-director of the Center of Excellence in Nanomedicine and Engineering. Prof. Almutairi has eight issued or pending patents, and one of which is being developed by the company she founded, eLux Medical. Her lab’s research has been recognized by Chemical & Engineering News and Materials Today. She completed her PhD in Materials Chemistry at UC Riverside and came to UC San Diego in 2008 from UC Berkeley.


Susan G. Amara, Ph.D.

Susan G. Amara is currently the Scientific Director of the Intramural Program at NIMH. Work in her laboratory has explored the structure, function, and cellular physiology of neurotransmitter transporters that include the major targets for psychostimulant drugs and antidepressants. As a Physiology-Pharmacology PhD student at UCSD she got off to a great start by doing laboratory and reading rotations with Professor Taylor. Since then she has held faculty positions at Yale, the Vollum Institute, and the University of Pittsburgh. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a former HHMI investigator and a past-President of the Society for Neuroscience.


Richard Atkinson, Ph.D.

Richard C. Atkinson served from 1995-2003 as the seventeenth president of the University of California system.  Before becoming president of the UC System he served for fifteen years as chancellor of UC San Diego, where he led that campus's emergence as one of the leading research universities in the nation.  He is a former director of the National Science Foundation, past president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and was a long-term member of the faculty at Stanford University.  He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Education and the American Philosophical Society.


David Brenner, M.D.

David Brenner is vice chancellor for Health Sciences and dean ofthe School of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego. In this role, he leads the School of Medicine, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of California, San Diego, and UC San Diego Health System. Dr. Brenner has oversight of more than 1300 faculty physicians, pharmacists and scientists; 7,500 staff; more than 750 medical and pharmacy students, and a health system that cares for approximately 125,000 patients annually.


William A. Catterall, Ph.D.

Bill Catterall received a BA in Chemistry from Brown University in 1968, a PhD in Physiological Chemistry from Johns Hopkins in 1972, and postdoctoral training in neurobiology and molecular pharmacology with Dr. Marshall Nirenberg at the National Institutes of Health from 1972 to 1974. Following three years as a staff scientist at NIH, he joined the University of Washington in 1977 as Associate Professor of Pharmacology, became Professor in 1981, and Chair in 1984. Catterall is a member of the National Academy of Science and the Royal Society of London.


Arthur Christopoulos, Ph.D.

Arthur Christopoulos is a Professor of Pharmacology at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and a Principal Research Fellow of the NHMRC of Australia. His research focuses on mechanisms of allostery and biased agonism at G protein-coupled receptors. He is an author of over 230 publications, serves/has served on the Editorial Board of 8 international journals, is a consultant for a numerous pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and Deputy Chair of the IUPHAR Nomenclature Committee (NC-IUPHAR).  In 2014, Thomson Reuters named him a Highly Cited Researcher in Pharmacology and Toxicology.
URL: http://www.monash.edu/pharm/research/areas/drug-discovery/labs/Christopoulos


Davide Comoletti, Ph.D.

Davide Comoletti earned his DVM degree from the University of Milan (Milan, Italy) in 1995 and his PhD degree from the "Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research" (Milan, Italy) in 1998. He did his postdoctoral work at the University of California San Diego in the laboratory of Professor Palmer Taylor, from 1998 to 2011. He then joined the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. His work, on the structure and function of synaptic cell adhesion molecules, is currently supported by NIH and NSF grants.


Pierre-Jean Corringer, Ph.D.

Pierre-Jean Corringer was trained as a chemist and did his PhD (Paris) and post-doctoral fellowship (Brighton) in pharmacology and organic synthesis. He joined the Pasteur Institute as a CNRS researcher to work on the functional architecture and biosynthesis of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. His work contributed to the discovery of bacterial ancestors of these neurotransmitter receptors. In 2008, he created his own research group, with the first structural resolution of a bacterial channel-receptor, allowing deciphering the allosteric mechanisms of signal transduction and their pharmacological regulation, notably by general anesthetics. (https://www.pasteur.fr/en/research/neuroscience/units-groups/channel-receptors)


Pieter Dorrestein, Ph.D.

Dr. Dorrestein is Professor at the University of California - San Diego. He is the Director of the Collaborative Mass Spectrometry Innovation Center and a Co-Director, Institute for Metabolomics Medicine in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Department of Pharmacology. Since his arrival to UCSD in 2006, Dr. Dorrestein has been pioneering the development of mass spectrometry methods to study the chemical ecological crosstalk between population of organisms for agricultural, diagnostic and therapeutic applications.


William Gerwick, Ph.D.

William Gerwick's research focuses on the natural products of marine algae and cyanobacteria, their application in medicine, and their biosynthesis using genomic approaches. After 21 years as Professor of Pharmacy at Oregon State University, he returned in 2005 to his PhD institution at Scripps-SSPPS/UCSD where he is Distinguished Professor of Oceanography and Pharmaceutical Sciences. He has served as president of the American Society of Pharmacognosy, chaired and co-chaired several major research conferences, and was associate editor of the Journal of Natural Products Chemistry. His research group has published over 300 papers and more than 20 patents (http://scrippsscholars.ucsd.edu/wgerwick/biocv).


Tracy Handel, Ph.D.

Dr. Handel is a Professor in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and in the Dept. of Pharmacology, School of Medicine. She studies chemokines and their receptors, which are important mediators of the immune response but are also involved in numerous diseases, particularly inflammatory diseases and cancer. As G protein-coupled receptors, they are also excellent therapeutic targets. Her group uses a wide range of biophysical and cell-based methods to better understand the complex behavior of these proteins in heath and in disease and to aid drug discovery efforts.


Scott B. Hansen, Ph.D.

Scott B. Hansen is an assistant professor at The Scripps Research Institute, Department of Molecular Therapeutics (Florida). In 2006 Scott graduated with a Ph.D. from UCSD, having studied structure and function of ion channels with Palmer Taylor. In 2007 Scott moved to the Rockefeller University to work with Roderick Mackinnon; his postdoctoral research led to the first structure of a lipid opening an ion channel. Scott's own research aims to define lipid-gated ion channels and their physiological roles. Awards include the Martin D. Kamen Award (UCSD 2006) and the Director's New Innovator Award (NIH 2013). www.scripps.edu/hansen


Joan Heller-Brown, Ph.D.

Dr. Joan Heller-Brown earned her B.A. degree at Cornell University and her Ph.D. in Pharmacology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Following postdoctoral studies she moved to UCSD and has risen to the rank of Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Pharmacology. Her honors include research awards and lectureships from the American Heart Association, Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association, International Society for Heart Research, and AECOM. She has served on numerous editorial boards and as Editor of Molecular Pharmacology.


Ryan Hibbs, Ph.D.

Ryan Hibbs obtained his undergraduate degree in Chemistry and Biology at Whitman College. He carried out his doctoral research at the University of California, San Diego under the supervision of Dr. Palmer Taylor in the Department of Pharmacology. As a post-doctoral fellow, he worked with Dr. Eric Gouaux  at the Vollum Institute in Portland, OR. He started his faculty position in 2012 in the Department of Neuroscience at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, TX. His laboratory is pursuing atomic-scale mechanisms of synaptic proteins, with a current focus on ligand-gated ion channel structure and function.


Paul Insel, M.D.

Trained as an M.D. and board-certified in Internal Medicine, Dr. Insel received research training at the NIH and UCSF. At UCSD, he is currently Vice-Chair and Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology and Medicine and Director of the Medical Scientist (M.D./Ph.D.) Training Program. He holds a Doc. Hon Causa from the University of Paris and is a Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Insel's major research efforts focus on G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs)--their expression, signaling, regulation, and roles in health and disease.


Pradeep K. Khosla, Ph.D.

Pradeep K. Khosla, an internationally renowned electrical and computer engineer, is the eighth Chancellor of the University of California, San Diego, and a Distinguished Professor.  At UC San Diego, he initiated and led a comprehensive, all-inclusive strategic planning process to unify the campus and define UC San Diego's future.  Khosla received his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology - Kharagpur in 1980, and his MS and Ph.D. degrees in electrical and computer engineering in 1984 and 1986 at Carnegie Mellon. In 2014, he received an honorary doctorate of science from the Indian Institute of Technology - Kharagpur.


Pascale Marchot, Ph.D.

As a biochemist and after a PhD in Neurosciences and a 3-yrs postdoc in Marseille I obtained a junior researcher position at the CNRS (1989). In 1994 I joined the Palmer Taylor lab at UCSD for a 2-yrs sabbatical, then went back to Marseille to develop projects related to molecular toxinology, pharmacology and enzymology as a team leader. Since then I have been studying the function, recognition properties and structure of receptors, enzymes and adhesion molecules of biomedical interest, with particular curiosity for their specificity of ligand recognition, 3D structure, and motion dynamics. Now I am a senior researcher and the co-PI of team "Structural Glycobiology and Neurobiology" at the AFMB lab (http://www.afmb.univ-mrs.fr/Pascale-Marchot?lang=en).


J. Andrew McCammon, Ph.D.

J. Andrew McCammon is Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Pharmacology at UCSD and a HHMI Investigator. He joined UCSD in 1995 after 16 years in Houston. In the 1980's, he guided the establishment of computer-aided drug discovery in Agouron Pharmaceuticals (now Pfizer's La Jolla Laboratories), contributing to discovery of the HIV-1 protease inhibitor, nelfinavir. His subsequent studies of HIV-1 integrase flexibility aided discovery of raltegravir by Merck. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and Member of the US National Academy of Sciences.


James McKerrow, Ph.D., M.D.

Dr. James McKerrow is the second Dean of the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at UCSD. He is also Director of the Center for Discovery and Innovation in Parasitic Diseases (www.cdipd.org), a consortium dedicated to the discovery and development of new drugs for neglected tropical diseases. Dr. McKerrow is a mentor in graduate and postdoctoral programs, lectures to health profession students, and hosts minority students for summer internships. To foster science education in the community, he gives talks to elementary and high school students, and the general public.


Bradley Moore, Ph.D.

Bradley Moore is Professor of Oceanography and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at UC San Diego. Moore is also the founding director of the Scripps Center for Oceans and Human Health. His research interests involve exploring and exploiting marine microbes and their genomes to discover and engineer enzymes, secondary metabolic pathways, and natural product chemicals as environmental toxins and human health drug leads.


Baldomero Olivera, Ph.D.

Baldomero ("Toto") Olivera grew up in the Philippines, received his Ph.D. in Biophysical Chemistry at Caltech and his Postdoc at Stanford. He is presently a Distinguished Professor of Biology at the University of Utah. Toto's research contributions include the discovery and biochemical characterization of E. coli DNA ligase, a key enzyme used in recombinant DNA technology. He initiated the characterization of the venoms of the predatory cone snails. Several peptides discovered in Olivera's laboratory reached human clinical trials; one (Prialt) is approved for the treatment of intractable pain.


Rick Rotundo, Ph.D.

Rick Rotundo received his Ph.D. in Psychobiology from the University of Connecticut followed by postdoctoral studies with Doug Fambrough at the Carnegie Institution of Washington. There he began his studies on the cell and molecular biology of acetylcholinesterase, work on which he continues to this day. He has published his research in Cell, Neuron, Journal of Cell Biology, Journal of Biological Chemistry, and Nature Neuroscience and has been on the editorial boards of the Journals of Cell Biology and Biological Chemistry, thus confirming he's a bonafide cell biologist.


K. Barry Sharpless, Ph.D.

Click chemistry was introduced as a conceptual frame-work for functional molecular assembly 17 years ago, emphasizing the importance of carbon–heteroatom linkages in joining modular building blocks. Sulfur(VI) Fluoride Exchange (SuFEx) chemistry, a new type of click chemistry recently,  forges rugged inorganic links between carbon centers. Like most click reactions, it is an old process with a rich and instructive history. We surveyed that history and discovered new improvements that allow the underappreciated sulfate connection to be made for drug discovery and polymer fabrications.


Israel Silman, Ph.D.

Israel Silman received his PhD degree from the Weizmann Institute of Science in 1964. After postdoctoral fellowships in the Enzyme Institute at the University of Wisconsin, and the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Columbia University, New York, he returned to the Weizmann. Since 1974 he has been a member of its Neurobiology Department, serving as Departmental Chairman (1988-91) and Director of the Benoziyo Center for Neurosciences (1992-98). He was President of the Israel Neuroscience Society (1997-98), and served on the International Advisory Board of the Molecular Neuroscience Center of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (2001-08).


Steve Sine, Ph.D.

Steve Sine is a Professor of Physiology and Biophysics at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester MN. As an undergraduate at UC Riverside, he majored in Biochemistry, minored in Chemistry, and conducted research in synthetic organic chemistry. On joining the Physiology and Pharmacology graduate program at UC San Diego, Steve's interests in nicotinic receptors began under the tutelage of Palmer Taylor. Following postdoctoral fellowships in Molecular Neurobiology at the Salk Institute and Physiology at Yale, he founded his independent laboratory at Mayo investigating nicotinic receptors using single molecule biophysical and structural methods.


Joel Sussman, Ph.D.

Joel Sussman earned a PhD from MIT and was a postdoc at Duke before joining the Weizmann in 1976. He was Director of the PDB at BNL (1994-99), and established the Israel Structural Proteomics Center http://www.weizmann.ac.il/ISPC) at the Weizmann. In 2014 he received the Broomfield Award from USAMRICD. In close collaboration with Prof. Israel Silman, they determined the first atomic structure of acetylcholinesterase (AChE), and determined the structures of more than 40 complexes of AChE with a repertoire of drugs & toxins, including essentially all the first generation anti-Alzheimer drugs.


Palmer Taylor, Ph.D.

Palmer Taylor served as founding Dean of the Skaggs School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences at UC San Diego. Previously, he was founding Chair of Pharmacology, the first basic science department in the medical school.  Taylor holds The Trout Chair of Pharmacology. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, an AAAS fellow and Chevalier dans l'Ordre de a Legion d'Honneur. Taylor's studies with colleagues employ genetic, spectroscopic, and crystallographic methods to investigate molecular recognition in cholinergic nervous system. Principal targets encompass acetylcholinesterase, nicotinic acetylcholine receptors and neuroligin. Overall goals are to develop selective therapeutic agents for neurologic disorders and antidotes against toxicants affecting neurotransmission.


Roger Tsien, Ph.D.

Roger Y. Tsien, A.B. (Chemistry & Physics) Harvard College 1972, Ph.D. (Physiology) 1977, University of Cambridge. From 1989: Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Professor of Pharmacology and Chemistry & Biochemistry, University of California, San Diego. Gairdner Award (1995), Heineken Prize in Biochemistry (2002), Wolf Prize in Medicine (2004), and Nobel Prize in Chemistry (2008). Memberships: National Academy of Sciences, Royal Society. Scientific founder: 4 biotechnology companies. Interests: molecular engineering, imaging, cancer diagnosis and therapy, substrates for long-term memory. URL: tsienlab.ucsd.edu


J. Craig Venter, Ph.D.

J. Craig Venter, a biologist renowned for his contributions in sequencing the first draft human genome in 2001, is co-founder, executive chairman and CEO of Human Longevity Inc. He is also founder, executive chairman and CEO of the J. Craig Venter Institute and a co-founder, chairman and co-chief scientist of Synthetic Genomics Inc. Venter is a recipient of the 2008 National Medal of Science, member of the National Academy of Sciences.


Charlene Zettel

Charlene Zettel serves as CEO of Donate Life California, the state-authorized nonprofit that administers the organ and tissue donor registry. Under her leadership, California's donor registry has grown to nearly 13 million people. A former California State Assemblywoman, Ms. Zettel also serves as the Governor's appointee to the University of California Board of Regents, overseeing policy and fiscal matters for ten University of California campuses, five medical centers, and three National Laboratories. Please visit www.donateLIFEcalifornia.org.