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Two UCSF Scientists Named Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators

By Jennifer O'Brien, UCSF News Services | March 22, 2005

Two UCSF professors were named today (March 21) as Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators, a highly prized honor that carries significant, long-term research support.

The investigators are Joseph DeRisi, PhD, UCSF associate professor of biochemistry, and Kevan Shokat, PhD, UCSF professor of cellular and molecular pharmacology.

They are among 43 scientists from 31 institutions nationwide named as new recipients of the honor.

At UCSF, 15 other UCSF scientists also hold the prestigious HHMI investigator status, among the highest number of any institution.

DeRisi, who holds the Gordon M. Tomkins Chair, helped pioneer the field of microarray technology, in which gene activity is revealed on a glass slide. He has used the microarrays he designed to make major advances in understanding such infectious diseases as SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and malaria.

Shokat, a leader in the new field of chemical genetics, has developed a number of innovative techniques to tease apart the function of vital signaling molecules, called protein kinases, that are active in all cells. These proteins are responsible for most of the molecule-to-molecule communication in cells -- cascades of signals that direct movement and metabolism, cancer and cell death.

Read more at Jennifer O'Brien, UCSF News Services