John Kuriyan, PhD | Amgen

John Kuriyan is currently Dean of Basic Sciences, School of Medicine, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee. Kuriyan earned his PhD in 1986 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, working with Gregory A. Petsko (MIT) and Martin Karplus (Harvard University). He was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University from 1986 to 1987, continuing his research with Karplus and Petsko. From 1987 to 2001 he was on the faculty of The Rockefeller University, New York, where he was promoted to full Professor in 1993. He was a Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology and also of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, between 2001 and 2022. Dr. Kuriyan was an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for 32 years, having been appointed in 1990.

Dr. Kuriyan's research concerns the atomic-level structure and mechanism of the enzymes and molecular switches that carry out cellular signal transduction. His laboratory uses x-ray crystallography to determine the three-dimensional structures of proteins involved in signaling, as well as biochemical, biophysical, and cell biological analyses to elucidate mechanisms. Breakthroughs from the lab have included determining the auto-inhibited structures of several tyrosine kinases, including Src family kinases and elucidating the mechanism of allosteric activation of the kinase domains of the EGF receptor. His laboratory has provided a fundamental understanding of the structure and regulation several other signaling proteins, including STATs, the Ras activator SOS, and calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase-II. Their structural insights have helped understand how the misregulation of these enzymes is often coupled to cancer and immune diseases and has implications for the development of kinase-targeted drugs to treat these diseases. His lab has also made fundamental contributions to understanding the structural basis for high-speed DNA replication.

Dr. Kuriyan's achievements in science have been recognized by numerous honors:

  • Foreign Member of The Royal Society, London. Elected April 2015.
  • Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, Juniata College, Huntington, PA. May 2014.
  • Merck Award, American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2009.
  • Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Elected 2008.
  • Richard Lounsbery Award, US National Academy of Sciences, 2005.
  • Member, US National Academy of Sciences, Elected 2001.
  • Cornelius Rhoads Memorial Award, American Association for Cancer Research, 1999.
  • Eli Lilly Award of the American Chemical Society, 1998.
  • DuPont-Merck Award of the Protein Society, 1997.
  • Schering-Plough Award of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 1994.
  • Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences, 1989-1993.