Jonsson Cancer Center researcher named Chair of the UCLA Department of Biological Chemistry

Dr. Siavash Kurdistani, recognized research pioneer in epigenetics and cancer, will focus on promoting excellence in research and education
Siavash Kurdistani

The UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center is proud to announce that Dr. Siavash Kurdistani, Associate Director of the JCCC Gene Regulation Program, has been appointed to Chair of the UCLA Department of Biological Chemistry, beginning July 1, 2015.

As part of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, the Department of Biological Chemistry is committed to excellence in research and teaching. Faculty research focuses on making novel observations and investigating their mechanistic bases in diverse fields such as stem cell biology, development, gene regulation, cell signaling, cancer biology, neurobiology, genetic variation and disease.

Dr. Kurdistani’s laboratory addresses the function of histone post-translational modifications in regulating gene expression, and several of his discoveries have changed the way we view the role of epigenetics in normal and cancer cells. His work has been recognized with an HHMI Early Career Award and the NIH Director’s Innovator Award, and has been published in prestigious journals.

Kurdistani has received funding from the National Cancer Institute, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and the American Cancer Society. Nationally, he has served on multiple NIH study sections, scientific advisory boards and as external consultant to the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation and the City of Hope Cancer Center.

Kurdistani received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry at UCLA, where he studied in the laboratory of Nobel laureate Donald J. Cram in the Department of Chemistry. After receiving his M.D. degree from Harvard Medical School, he returned to UCLA for a short residency in Pathology and a postdoctoral fellowship in chromatin biology with Professor Michael Grunstein in the Department of Biological Chemistry. He joined the UCLA faculty in 2004 and became a full professor in 2014.