Four UC San Francisco faculty members are among the 75 new members and 10 international members elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine.
Membership in the NAM recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievements and commitment to service in the medical sciences, health care and public health. This year, the UCSF faculty to join this distinguished group are:
Peter Walter, PhD, distinguished professor of biochemistry and biophysics
Ophir Klein and Peter Walter are members of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Klein is chief of UCSF’s Division of Medical Genetics and chair of the Division of Craniofacial Anomalies. His lab studies how organs form in the embryo and how they renew and regenerate in the adult, with a long-term goal of learning how diseases result from abnormalities in these processes. Klein focuses on understanding how adult stem cells enable regeneration of dental and craniofacial tissues and on the ability of the mammalian gastrointestinal tract to renew itself.
Klein has previously received the E. Mead Johnson Award from the Society for Pediatric Research and the Craniofacial Biology Distinguished Scientist Award from the International Association for Dental Research. He is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Walter studies how cells control the quality of their proteins and organelles during homeostasis and stress. His lab is identifying the machinery and mechanisms that ensure proper protein synthesis, folding, and targeting, as well as the pathways that allow organelles to communicate and regulate their abundance. He helped elucidate the unfolded protein response (UPR), a cellular quality-control system that detects disease-causing unfolded proteins and directs cells to take corrective measures. The UPR is implicated in diseases ranging from Alzheimer’s to retinitis pigmentosa. Walter’s most recent work centers around a molecule discovered in his laboratory called ISRIB, which reverses the inhibition of protein production caused by the integrated stress response. Studies suggest ISRIB may reverse some of the cognitive deficits that follow traumatic brain injury.