Congratulations to Dr. Kelsey Martin!

Dr. Kelsey Martin appointed the new Executive Vice Dean and Associate Vice Chancellor of the David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA.

Dear Colleagues:

It is with great pride that I write to announce the appointment of Kelsey Martin, M.D., Ph.D., as the Executive Vice Dean and Associate Vice Chancellor of the David Geffen School of Medicine, effective April 15, 2015.

Dr. Martin joined the UCLA faculty in 1999.  A Professor in the Department of Biological Chemistry and the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, she has served as Chair of the Department of Biological Chemistry since 2010 and as Chair of the Basic Science Chairs of the David Geffen School of Medicine since 2012.  Dr. Martin also currently serves as Director of the UCLA Neuroscience Research Theme.  She co-directed of the UCLA-Caltech Medical Scientist Training Program from 2005- 2013.

Dr. Martin’s career at UCLA illustrates her deep commitment to fundamental scholarship, basic and translational science, and visionary leadership for the School of Medicine.  Dr. Martin’s scientific work has elucidated fundamental new knowledge of the molecular biological mechanisms underlying learning and memory.  Under Dr. Martin’s leadership, the Department of Biological Chemistry has recruited some of the world’s best scientists and strengthened an already enormously accomplished basic science department, which currently boasts five National Academy of Science Members and four Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators.  First as the Co-Director of the UCLA-Caltech MSTP and then as Chair of the Basic Science Chairs, Dr. Martin has led the effort to more effectively bridge the basic sciences with the clinical sciences. As the newly appointed Executive Vice Dean, Dr. Martin hopes to continue these efforts as well as to help the UCLA School of Medicine more creatively and effectively engage with the local Los Angeles community as the city’s foremost public institution that is committed to the alleviation of suffering through rigorous and compassionately motivated scientific inquiry.

This new phase in Dr. Martin’s career represents the bringing together of her deep interest in the human condition and an equally strong desire to make a difference in the world.  She received her B.A. in English and American Literature and Language from Harvard University.  She then spent two and one-half years as a Peace Corps volunteer, leading health prevention efforts in remote villages in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Profoundly affected by the experience, Dr. Martin realized the potential power of medicine practiced within a social and scientific context.  Especially inspired by her experience in preventing infectious disease through vaccination programs, she enrolled in the M.D./Ph.D. program at Yale University, where her Ph.D. research addressed the question of how influenza virus infects cells.  After completing medical school, she was struck by that fact that neuropsychiatric disorders seemed as intractable as many of the diseases she had encountered in Africa, in part, because we lacked fundamental knowledge about brain biology and the ways in which brain biology interacts with the psychological and social to create clinical disease.  These intellectual and clinical concerns led her to join the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Eric Kandel at Columbia University to pursue post-doctoral research on the molecular biology of learning and memory.

Dr. Martin will step down as Chair of Biological Chemistry, and Dr. John Colicelli will serve as interim chair of the department.  Dr. Larry Zipursky will assume the leadership of the Neuroscience Theme.

I ask that you join me in congratulating Dr. Martin on her new position and that you offer her your support as she makes the transition to Executive Vice Dean and Associate Vice Chancellor.
John Mazziotta, M.D., Ph.D.
Vice Chancellor, UCLA Health Sciences
Dean, David Geffen School of Medicine

Shivan Bonanno awarded NRSA Award

Congratulations to Shivan Bonanno! He has been awarded a National Research Service Award!

Shivan Bonanno, a graduate student in Dr. Kelsey Martin's lab has been awarded a National Research Service Award (NRSA) for his project on CRTC1 phosphorylation and transcriptional activity during hippocampal plasticity.

In Memoriam Professor Armand Fulco

Professor Emeritus Armand Fulco passes away at the age of 82.

Armand joined the Biological Chemistry faculty in 1965 as an assistant professor and became an emeritus professor in October 2003. Armand’s friends fondly describe him as a “Bruin through and through.” Armand began his UCLA career in the early 1950s and graduated with a B.S. degree in Chemistry in 1957. He remained at UCLA for his PhD working on the metabolism of fatty acids in the laboratory of Jim Mead in the Department of Physiological Chemistry. Finishing his PhD in 1960, he moved to Harvard University to continue his training in lipid biochemistry as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Konrad Bloch. In1963, Armand returned to UCLA and from 1963 to 1965 worked as a research biochemist in the Department of Biophysics and Nuclear Medicine.  Since 1965, he has remained in the Department of Biological Chemistry, becoming a full professor in 1976.
Armand had a distinguished research career. Extending his work on lipid metabolism, he discovered a bacterial fatty acid metabolizing enzyme that was cytochrome P450 dependent and inducible by phenobarbital. For most of his career, he studied the structure and regulation of the cytochrome P450 monooxygenases in his favorite model organism, Bacillus Megaterium. In later years, he turned his attention to the study of barbiturate-inducible P450 genes in rat. At the same time, Armand was a dedicated educator. He trained numerous graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and, later in his career, became an integral member of the School of Medicine’s Admissions Committee. Underscoring his commitment to medical education, he continued to be an active teacher as an emeritus faculty member and in 2004 received the Excellence in Teaching Award, presented by the UCLA School of Medicine Class of 2006.

Since Armand’s passing, I have spoken to numerous faculty members about Armand as a person, scientist, and teacher. He touched many with his wisdom, kindness, humor and friendship, and will be sorely missed. 

A memorial service for Armand will be held inside the California Room at the Faculty Center on Monday, April 13, 2015 at 2pm.

(written by Kelsey Martin, Professor and Chair, Biological Chemistry)

Armand's obituary has been posted in the LA Times.

Biological Chemistry Faculty Search

The department's faculty job talk starts next week!


Date of TalkName Time location
Thursday, February 5Neville Sanjana10am1357 Gonda
Thursday, February 12Nicholas Guydosh10am13-105 CHS
Wednesday, February 18Weizhe Hong4pm23-105 CHS
Thursday, February 26Brandon Toyama10am53-105 CHS
Monday, March 2Emily Hatch10am53-105 CHS
Thursday, March 5Won-Suk Chung10am53-105 CHS
Thursday, March 12Hao Yuan Kueh10am13-105 CHS
Thursday, March 26Brooke Emerling10am53-105 CHS

Congratulations to Dr. Pamela Ting!

The department congratulates Pamela Ting (mentor: John Colicelli) for defending her dissertation!

Pamela's dissertation defense: "RAS Signal Transduction: Insights from RIN1 Effector Pathway Studies"

Dr. Lenore Arab's research mentioned in several news outlets!

Dr. Lenore Arab's research shows walnuts may help boost our memory

Research led by Dr. Lenore Arab, professor of medicine in the division of general internal medicine and health services research and of biological chemistry, suggesting that eating a few walnuts a day may help  improve memory, concentration and information processing speed, was covered Jan. 21 by U.S. News & World Report, and Jan. 22 by CBS, the Business Standard, DNA India, 490Live and other outlets.

The Plath lab publishes article in Cell

Congratulations to the Plath Lab for publishing their paper in Cell!

Kathrin Plath and her lab published an article titled "X Chromosome Reactivation Dynamics Reveal Stages of Reprogramming to Pluripotency" in CellClick here to read the article!

Switzer Prize for Biomedical Discovery: Professor David Eisenberg

Congratulations to Dr. David Eisenberg! He has been awarded the first Switzer Prize for Biomedical Discovery!

The Switzer prize is in honor of Irma and Norman Switzer who through a gift to the David Geffen School of Medicine provided funds to support the advancement of medicine and health. The purpose of the prize is to honor a scientific investigator or group of investigators, anywhere in the world, whose contributions in the broad field of biomedical science are deemed worthy of special recognition. The prize consists of an honorarium and a citation, and was presented at the 55th School of Medicine’s Annual Lectureship last month.

Dr. Eisenberg currently serves as a HHMI Investigator and served as Director of the UCLA-DOE Institute for Genomics and Proteomics from July, 1993 to June, 2014. Dr. Eisenberg has received the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award, John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, the UCLA Faculty Research Lectureship, the Stein and Moore Award of the Protein Society and the American Chemical Society’s Faculty Mentoring Award. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the Institute of Medicine.

Click here for more information on Dr. David Eisenberg.

Kelsey Martin selected as a Presidential Special Lecturer

Kelsey Martin will give the Presidential Special Lecture at the 2014 Society for Neuroscience in Washington, DC.

The Society for Neuroscience is the world’s largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, now has nearly 40,000 members in more than 90 countries and 130 chapters worldwide.

Kelsey will give her talk on "The Living Record of Memory: Genes, Neurons, and Synapses" on November 15, 2014. 

Memory requires stimulus-induced changes in gene expression, which in turn, alters synaptic connectivity and wiring in the brain. In this way, experience combines with our genome to determine who we are as individuals. This talk describes efforts to understand how experience regulates gene expression within neurons, how stimulus-induced signals are transported from distal synapses to the nucleus to alter gene expression, and how gene expression is spatially restricted to specific subcellular compartments.

2014-2015 UCLA SPORE in Prostate Cancer Award

Dr. Hilary Coller receives a Career Development Program Award from the UCLA SPORE in Prostate Cancer.

The Career Development Program supports junior faculty and established researchers who wish to commit their research interests to or refocus on translational approaches in the prostate cancer research field.

The purpose of the UCLA SPORE in Prostate Cancer is to contribute significantly to progress in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of prostate cancer. These goals will be accomplished through multiple and diverse research projects, both in basic science and population-based research, which can be rapidly translated into clinical applications.


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