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Leading Metabolics Researcher Joins UC San Diego School of Medicine

Alan Saltiel will head unified effort to create comprehensive diabetes center


  • Scott LaFee

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  • Scott LaFee

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Image: Alan R. Saltiel, PhD

Alan R. Saltiel, PhD

Alan R. Saltiel, PhD, whose studies of the hormone insulin have helped drive research of obesity, diabetes and other metabolic disorders across the nation, is joining University of California, San Diego School of Medicine as professor and director of a new Comprehensive Diabetes Center.

Saltiel, who most recently served as director of the Life Sciences Institute at University of Michigan, will bring together and expand UC San Diego’s diverse programs to better understand and treat diabetes and other metabolic disorders.

“Diabetes afflicts almost one-tenth of the U.S. population. It is the seventh leading cause of death in this country,” said David A. Brenner, MD, vice chancellor for health sciences, and dean of the UC San Diego School of Medicine. “It’s imperative that we better understand, treat and prevent this disease – and a growing list of other metabolic disorders. Through the efforts of places like the Pediatrics Diabetes Research Center in the School of Medicine and the work of numerous dedicated researchers and physicians, UC San Diego is already helping lead that effort. Alan will help take us to the next level.”

Saltiel received his AB in zoology from Duke University in 1975 with magna cum laude distinction, and his PhD in biochemistry from the University of North Carolina in 1980. He conducted postdoctoral training with Pedro Cuatrecasas at the Wellcome Research Laboratories in Research Triangle Park, NC, investigating mechanisms of insulin action, then moved to Rockefeller University where he continued research on the molecular and cellular biology of the actions of insulin and growth factors.

In 1990, he joined Parke Davis Pharmaceutical Research as director of the Department of Signal Transduction, later becoming Distinguished Research Fellow and senior director of Cell Biology. In 2001, Saltiel moved to the newly created Life Sciences Institute at the University of Michigan, becoming director of the institute one year later.

He holds 18 patents, has published more than 280 original papers and developed drugs for diabetes and cancer. He is ranked 18th among the most highly cited authors in biology and biochemistry over the past decade, and has served on the editorial boards of several distinguished scientific journals.

Saltiel has received numerous awards, including the Rosalyn Yalow Research and Development Award from the American Diabetes Association, the Hirschl Award, the John Jacob Abel and the Goodman and Gilman Awards from the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

According to Wikipedia, his “true dream is to star for the New York Knicks.”

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