University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Keith R. Yamamoto, PhD

Keith R. Yamamoto, PhD

Vice Chancellor for Research; Executive Vice Dean, School of Medicine; Professor, Departments of Cellular/Molecular Pharmacology and Biochemistry/Biophysics, UCSF

Cancer Center Program Memberships


Research Summary

Dr. Yamamoto oversees strategic planning as well as research activities at UCSF's school of medicine. After earning a PhD at Princeton, he came to UCSF in 1973. He served as chair of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology from 1994 to 2003. Dr. Yamamoto is regarded as an international leader in studying the mechanisms of signaling and gene regulation by intracellular receptors.


Iowa State University, Ames, IA, B.Sc., 1968, Biochemistry and Biophysics
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, Ph.D., 1973, Biochemical Sciences
University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, postdoc, 1973-1975, Molecular Biology

Professional Experience

  • 1976-1979
    Assistant Professor of Biochemistry, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, UCSF
  • 1979-1983
    Associate Professor of Biochemistry, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, UCSF
  • 1983-2003
    Professor of Biochemistry, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, UCSF
  • 1985-1994
    Vice Chairman, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, UCSF
  • 1988-2001
    Director, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Program, Program in Biological Sciences, UCSF
  • 1994-2003
    Chairman, Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, UCSF
  • 1994-present
    Professor, Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology
  • 2002-2003
    Vice Dean for Research, School of Medicine
  • 2004
    Executive Vice Dean, School of Medicine
  • 2011
    Vice Chancellor for Research, UCSF

Honors & Awards

  • 1977-1982
    NIH Research Career Development Award
  • 1979-1980
    UCSF Distinguished Teaching Award
  • 1982-1986
    Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award
  • 1988
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • 1989
    National Academy of Sciences
  • 1990
    Gregory Pincus Medal
  • 1992
    American Academy of Microbiology
  • 1997
    Faculty Research Lecturer, UC San Francisco
  • 1997
    Iowa State University Distinguished Achievement Citation
  • 1998
    Theodore Roosevelt High School Hall of Fame, Des Moines, Iowa
  • 1999
    Vanderbilt Medal of Merit, Vanderbilt University
  • 2001
    Iowa State University D.Sc., honorary
  • 2002
    Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • 2003
    Institute of Medicine
  • 2004
    Allan Munck Prize, Dartmouth University
  • 2008
    10 Influential People to Watch in Biomedical Policy, Nature Medicine
  • 2010
    UCSF Postdoctoral Scholars Association Outstanding Faculty Mentorship Award
  • 2012
    The Endocrine Society 2012 Edwin B. Astwood Award
  • 2012
    American Society for Cell Biology 2012 Public Service Award
  • 2013
    John V. Atanasoff Discovery Award

Selected Publications

  1. Schnoes AM, Caliendo A, Morand J, Dillinger T, Naffziger-Hirsch M, Moses B, Gibeling JC, Yamamoto KR, Lindstaedt B, McGee R, O'Brien TC. Internship Experiences Contribute to Confident Career Decision Making for Doctoral Students in the Life Sciences. CBE Life Sci Educ. 2018; 17(1).
    View on PubMed
  2. Love MI, Huska MR, Jurk M, Schöpflin R, Starick SR, Schwahn K, Cooper SB, Yamamoto KR, Thomas-Chollier M, Vingron M, Meijsing SH. Role of the chromatin landscape and sequence in determining cell type-specific genomic glucocorticoid receptor binding and gene regulation. Nucleic Acids Res. 2017 Feb 28; 45(4):1805-1819.
    View on PubMed
  3. Chan LN, Chen Z, Braas D, Lee JW, Xiao G, Geng H, Cosgun KN, Hurtz C, Shojaee S, Cazzaniga V, Schjerven H, Ernst T, Hochhaus A, Kornblau SM, Konopleva M, Pufall MA, Cazzaniga G, Liu GJ, Milne TA, Koeffler HP, Ross TS, Sánchez-García I, Borkhardt A, Yamamoto KR, Dickins RA, Graeber TG, Müschen M. Metabolic gatekeeper function of B-lymphoid transcription factors. Nature. 2017 02 23; 542(7642):479-483.
    View on PubMed
  4. Weikum ER, Knuesel MT, Ortlund EA, Yamamoto KR. Glucocorticoid receptor control of transcription: precision and plasticity via allostery. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2017 03; 18(3):159-174.
    View on PubMed
  5. Walter P, Yamamoto KR. Science as a Way of Knowing: From Protein Machines to Evidence-Based Decisions. Cell. 2016 Sep 22; 167(1):16-19.
    View on PubMed
  6. Ratnappan R, Ward JD, Yamamoto KR, Ghazi A. Nuclear hormone receptors as mediators of metabolic adaptability following reproductive perturbations. Worm. 2016 Jan-Mar; 5(1):e1151609.
    View on PubMed
  7. Pack LR, Yamamoto KR, Fujimori DG. Opposing Chromatin Signals Direct and Regulate the Activity of Lysine Demethylase 4C (KDM4C). J Biol Chem. 2016 Mar 18; 291(12):6060-70.
    View on PubMed
  8. Hawgood S, Hook-Barnard IG, O'Brien TC, Yamamoto KR. Precision medicine: Beyond the inflection point. Sci Transl Med. 2015 Aug 12; 7(300):300ps17.
    View on PubMed
  9. Granner DK, Wang JC, Yamamoto KR. Regulatory Actions of Glucocorticoid Hormones: From Organisms to Mechanisms. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2015; 872:3-31.
    View on PubMed
  10. Ratnappan R, Amrit FR, Chen SW, Gill H, Holden K, Ward J, Yamamoto KR, Olsen CP, Ghazi A. Germline signals deploy NHR-49 to modulate fatty-acid ß-oxidation and desaturation in somatic tissues of C. elegans. PLoS Genet. 2014 Dec; 10(12):e1004829.
    View on PubMed
  11. Schiller BJ, Chodankar R, Watson LC, Stallcup MR, Yamamoto KR. Glucocorticoid receptor binds half sites as a monomer and regulates specific target genes. Genome Biol. 2014 Jul 31; 15(7):418.
    View on PubMed
  12. Ward JD, Yamamoto KR, Asahina M. SUMO as a nuclear hormone receptor effector: New insights into combinatorial transcriptional regulation. Worm. 2014; 3:e29317.
    View on PubMed
  13. Ward JD, Mullaney B, Schiller BJ, He LD, Petnic SE, Couillault C, Pujol N, Bernal TU, Van Gilst MR, Ashrafi K, Ewbank JJ, Yamamoto KR. Defects in the C. elegans acyl-CoA synthase, acs-3, and nuclear hormone receptor, nhr-25, cause sensitivity to distinct, but overlapping stresses. PLoS One. 2014; 9(3):e92552.
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  14. Chodankar R, Wu DY, Schiller BJ, Yamamoto KR, Stallcup MR. Hic-5 is a transcription coregulator that acts before and/or after glucocorticoid receptor genome occupancy in a gene-selective manner. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Mar 18; 111(11):4007-12.
    View on PubMed
  15. Ward JD, Bojanala N, Bernal T, Ashrafi K, Asahina M, Yamamoto KR. Sumoylated NHR-25/NR5A regulates cell fate during C. elegans vulval development. PLoS Genet. 2013; 9(12):e1003992.
    View on PubMed
  16. Thomas-Chollier M, Watson LC, Cooper SB, Pufall MA, Liu JS, Borzym K, Vingron M, Yamamoto KR, Meijsing SH. A naturally occurring insertion of a single amino acid rewires transcriptional regulation by glucocorticoid receptor isoforms. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Oct 29; 110(44):17826-31.
    View on PubMed
  17. Watson LC, Kuchenbecker KM, Schiller BJ, Gross JD, Pufall MA, Yamamoto KR. The glucocorticoid receptor dimer interface allosterically transmits sequence-specific DNA signals. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2013 Jul; 20(7):876-83.
    View on PubMed
  18. O'Brien T, Yamamoto K, Hawgood S. Commentary: Team science. Acad Med. 2013 Feb; 88(2):156-7.
    View on PubMed
  19. Chen SH, Masuno K, Cooper SB, Yamamoto KR. Incoherent feed-forward regulatory logic underpinning glucocorticoid receptor action. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Jan 29; 110(5):1964-9.
    View on PubMed
  20. Norman TC, Bountra C, Edwards AM, Yamamoto KR, Friend SH. Leveraging crowdsourcing to facilitate the discovery of new medicines. Sci Transl Med. 2011 Jun 22; 3(88):88mr1.
    View on PubMed

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