Dear Colleagues,

I am delighted and honored to share the news that Peter Walter, PhD, professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics of the UCSF School of Medicine, has been named to receive the 2014 Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine.

Dr. Walter shares the prize with Kazutoshi Mori, PhD, professor of biophysics at Kyoto University, in Japan, for their discovery of the Unfolded Protein Response of the cell’s endoplasmic reticulum, which makes what Walter calls “life and death decisions” for the cell.

The award acknowledges the scientists’ work in understanding how the cell ensures that proteins are properly constructed, especially when the cell’s quality control system is overwhelmed. Because of their work, we now understand that when these basic systems malfunction, serious diseases can result, from type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease to the more arcane eye disease retinitis pigmentosa. This discovery has altered the field of biochemistry and is a perfect example of the importance of basic research in understanding both health and disease.

Peter, who is also an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, joins four previous Shaw laureates from UCSF: Herbert Boyer (2004), Yuet-Wai Kan (2004), Shinya Yamanaka (2008), and David Julius (2010). Widely considered the “Nobel Prize of Asia,” the Shaw prize recognizes individuals who have achieved significant breakthroughs in academic and scientific research or applications, and whose work has resulted in a positive and profound impact on mankind.

For more information about Peter and his Shaw-winning work, please visit: http://www.ucsf.edu/news/2014/05/114636/peter-walter-receives-shaw-prize.... Please join me in congratulating Peter on this well-deserved honor.

Sincerely,

Sam Hawgood, MBBS
Interim Chancellor
Dean, School of Medicine