Dear Colleagues,

We are delighted to share the news that Peter Walter, PhD, professor and Howard Hughes Investigator in the School of Medicine Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, has received a 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. This award recognizes him for “elucidating the unfolded protein response, a cellular quality-control system that detects disease-causing unfolded proteins and directs cells to take corrective measures.”

The prize committee acknowledged his work towards improved understanding of how the cell ensures that proteins are properly constructed, especially when the cell’s quality control system is overwhelmed. Because of this research, we now understand that when these basic systems malfunction, serious diseases can result, including type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s. This discovery has altered the field of biochemistry and is a perfect example of the importance of basic science in understanding both health and disease.

Peter Walter previously has been honored with a Shaw Prize and a Lasker Award in 2014, as well as the Vilcek Prize in 2015. Read more about Peter Walter’s work.

Now in their sixth year, the Breakthrough Prizes were founded by Sergey Brin, Yuri and Julia Milner, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, and Anne Wojcicki, and “dedicated to advancing breakthrough research, celebrating scientists and generating excitement about the pursuit of science as a career.” Information about this year’s other prize recipients, including Kazutoshi Mori, PhD, at Kyoto University in Japan, who also is a leading researcher on the unfolded protein response and who has shared many major scientific awards with Walter, is available online.

We will have a celebration honoring Peter and his team tomorrow, December 5, 9 – 10 a.m., at Mission Bay in the Genentech Hall Atrium. Please join us in congratulating him on this well-deserved honor.

Sincerely,

Sam Hawgood, MBBS
Chancellor
Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Distinguished Professor

Talmadge E. King, Jr., MD
Dean, UCSF School of Medicine
Vice Chancellor, Medical Affairs