Ron Vale


Email: ron.vale / ucsf, edu

600 16th Street, MC 2200
Genentech Hall, Room N312E
San Francisco, CA 94158-2280

Phone: 415 476-6380

Administrative Assistant
Phoebe Grigg
415 502-6305
phoebe.grigg / cmp, ucsf, edu

Dr. Vale received a B.A. degree in biology and chemistry from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Ph.D. degree in neuroscience from Stanford University. His postdoctoral studies at the NIH Marine Biological Laboratory were on microtubule-based motors. Dr. Vale has been at UCSF since 1986 and currently is a Professor and the Chair of the CMP department. Dr. Vale also holds appointments as Investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the W. K. Hamilton Distinguished Professor in the Dept. of Anesthesia (UCSF).

Our research focuses on how cells move organelles, proteins, chromosomes and mRNAs within their cytoplasm. Much of this motion is generated by molecular motors (termed kinesins and dyneins) that carry numerous cellular cargoes along polymeric tracks called microtubules. Using a variety of techniques (including single molecule motility assays, enzymatic assays, x-ray crystallography, electron microscopy, and protein engineering), we are dissecting the mechanism by which these nanometer-scale machines convert chemical energy into mechanical work. We also are interested in how the motor proteins and many other proteins in the cytoskeleton contribute to complex cell behavior, such as membrane organization, cell shape, and cell division.

As part of such studies, we reconstitute aspects of cytoskeletal function in vitro, visualize the dynamics of cytoskeletal motors in living cells, and examine how cells respond to knockdowns of specific proteins. We also are using sensitive microscopic imaging techniques to study the behavior of single cytoskeletal or signaling molecules within living cells.