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Dr. Reiter earned his MD and PhD degrees at UCSF, including thesis work with Dr. Didier Stainier, with whom he identified genetic regulators of zebrafish heart and gut development. He subsequently worked with Dr. Bill Skarnes at UC Berkeley, developing gene editing technology to explore mammalian development, before returning to UCSF, first as a postdoctoral fellow, then as faculty in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
He has been directing the Developmental and Stem Cell Biology Graduate Program since 2013 and has served as an exceptional mentor to a number of postdocs who went on to successful independent careers in academia.
The research in Dr. Reiter's lab has significantly contributed to the understanding of primary cilia, small antennae-like structures present on almost all human cell types, as sensors of diverse cues. Their work has also shown that cancer cells can be ciliated and addicted to their cilia for uncontrolled proliferation. More recently, the Reiter lab has illuminated how the lipid and protein composition of the cilium allows it to function as a specialized signaling organelle, and some of the ways in which altering ciliary function causes diseases as diverse as neural tube birth defects and polycystic kidney disease.
He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) and more recently the American Association of Anatomists R. R. Bensley Award in Cell Biology. He is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation. As chair, he will assume the Albert Bowers Endowed Chair in Biochemistry.