Category: News and Events

Dr. Pui Kwok elected to World Academy of Sciences

Dr. Pui Kwok has been elected to the World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) for the advancement of scientific in developing countries, a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) honor society that is like the US National Academy of Science for the developing countries.  Dr. Kwok will be inducted in 2022.  TWAS has approximately 1,300 Fellows, of which 84% are from developing countries and the other have done work of impact on the developing countries.


Read more about TWAS here


Remembering John F. Murray, MD

It is with great sadness that we share the news that John F. Murray, Professor of Medicine emeritus, has passed away.Dr. Murray was tirelessly dedicated to what was then called San Francisco General Hospital (now, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital & Trauma Center), where he was chief of pulmonology from 1966 until 1989.

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Researcher of the Month: Natalia Jura, PhD

Natalia Jura, PhD, is focused on how cells transmit signals via protein molecules on their surface to elucidate what goes wrong in cellular communication with cancer. “We are using cryogenic electron microscopy to tackle the structure of a class of these proteins called Receptor Tyrosine Kinases. These are the first studies that will allow us to look at these molecules as a whole piece, understand their architecture, and see how mutations change them.”

Read the Interview.

$13 Million Grant to Probe the Genome of Heart Cells

The genome of human cells looks a lot like a tangled ball of yarn, with tightly wound clumps from which myriad loose strands escape and loop out. But there is order to this tangle, and growing evidence that the genome’s 3D architecture influences the activity of its genes.

Understanding the rules that control gene activity has been the object of a long collaboration between Gladstone Investigators Deepak Srivastava, Benoit Bruneau, Katherine Pollard, Bruce Conklin, and Nevan Krogan, and their UC San Francisco (UCSF) partner Brian Black. Together, they have already found many key regulators of gene activity in the heart.

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Understanding the Language of Cells: A Look Inside the Jura Lab

The biochemists and structural biologists in the Jura Lab, which is affiliated with the Cardiovascular Research Institute (CVRI) and the UCSF Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, seek to understand what regulates how cells compute signals received from other cells or the environment to control cell growth and survival.

The lab, led by Natalia Jura, PhD, looks at how cells grow when they are healthy, and what goes wrong in diseases, such as cancer or neurodegenerative disorders. Signaling requires precise function of proteins, which often rely on phosphorylation/dephosphorylated cycle, a controlled process of addition and loss of a phosphate component. This cycle is orchestrated by enzymes called kinases that put on the phosphates and phosphatases that remove these modifications. “These are key enzymes that keep our tissues healthy,” said Jura. “Something happens to them – they change their protein structure due to a mutation, get abnormally activated or silenced, and then precise control of signaling pathways is gone. This then leads to disease because core functions of the cell, including decisions to survive, migrate, or die, are out of balance.”

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Brian Black – Director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute Appointment

From the Dean



Dear School of Medicine Community,

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Brian L. Black, PhD as the new Director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute (CVRI), effective March 1, 2019.

Since joining UCSF in 1998, Dr. Black has led an internationally recognized basic research laboratory focused on developmental biology, with a primary emphasis on transcriptional control mechanisms. His research group has made several seminal contributions to the understanding of cardiovascular biology. Dr. Black has been part of CVRI leadership for the past 12 years and has served as Interim Director for the last 17 months.

Dr. Black earned his PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from Wake Forest University and conducted his postdoctoral training in Molecular Biology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Over the past decade, Dr. Black has served in leadership roles in the American Heart Association, the North American Vascular Biology Organization, and as a member the Weinstein Cardiovascular Development Steering Committee. He currently serves on the Editorial Board of the journal Development.

Dr. Black is a highly dedicated teacher and mentor at UCSF. He received the 2014 Haile T. Debas Excellence in Teaching Award for his efforts in medical student teaching. He has served as the CVRI mentoring program coordinator for the past 11 years and is the Principal Investigator of the CVRI’s postdoctoral training grant. Dr. Black is a member of the Biomedical Sciences and Developmental and Stem Cell Biology Graduate Program Executive Committees and currently serves on the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) Council.

As a first-generation college graduate, Dr. Black brings an understanding that the path to higher education and to success in science may not be straightforward and that individuals, particularly those from underrepresented groups, often face obstacles along the way to success in science and medicine. He is committed to promoting the careers of women and individuals from groups that are underrepresented in science and medicine (UIM) and increasing the pipeline of female and UIM scientists as a source of future faculty members.

I am confident that Dr. Black’s vision and leadership will help maintain and expand the excellence of the science at the CVRI, while working to preserve the collegial and cohesive spirit that has made the Institute such a great place to teach, learn, and conduct research.

I would like to thank the search committee, chaired by Dr. Jeff Olgin, for its work in considering an exceptional pool of candidates from across the country for this position.

Talmadge E. King, Jr., MD
Dean, School of Medicine