David Julius, University of California, San Francisco, USA


Julius is a biochemist and molecular physiologist whose research interests pertain to the structure and function of neurotransmitter receptors and ion channels, especially as this relates to mechanisms of sensory signaling. His group has been instrumental in identifying and/or characterizing ion channels that define specific subsets of primary afferent somatosensory nerve fibers; these include the capsaicin, menthol, and wasabi receptors (TRPV1, TRPM8, and TRPA1 respectively). They have exploited natural product pharmacology and mouse genetics, in combination with electrophysiological, anatomical, and behavioral assays, to elucidate cellular and physiological roles for these and other channels in nociception and itch under normal (acute) or pathophysiological (chronic) pain conditions. They also probe mechanisms of ion channel regulation using structure-function based approaches, ligand and toxin discovery efforts, biophysics, protein biochemistry, cryo[1]EM and other structural and biophysical methods. Mentorship is an essential and fulfilling aspect of my professional goals and career. He has been on the UCSF faculty for 32 years and trained over 40 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, including men, women and under-represented minorities. Over 90% of Julius lab alums remain active in research and teaching, and many now hold independent faculty positions at top universities or research centers, including Johns Hopkins Med., Yale Med., Duke Med., Harvard, UC Berkeley, UCSF, USC, University of Utah, NIH, Cornell University, Univ. of Arizona, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Genentech, Vertex, Hebrew University (Israel), University of Heidelberg (Germany), and the Okazaki Institute (Japan).

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Supporting Publications