Leadership Transition in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics

January 22, 2024 | By UCSF School of Medicine

Dr. Jeremy ReiterAs Dean Talmadge E. King, Jr., MD recently announced in a message to the School of Medicine, Jeremy Reiter, MD, PhD is stepping down as Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, after serving in the role since January 1, 2017. Geeta Narlikar, PhD will assume the role of Chair, effective February 1, 2024.

Dr. Reiter earned both his PhD and MD at UCSF before completing his Postdoctoral studies in Developmental Biology at UC Berkeley and a UCSF Fellowship in the Developmental and Stem Cell Biology Program. He joined the UCSF faculty in 2006. 

A physician-scientist whose work studies the ways cells build cilia and how cilia function in intercellular communication, Dr. Reiter and his colleagues in the Reiter Lab have helped reveal how cilia signal, how defective ciliary signaling causes cystic kidney diseases, and how cilia coordinate intercellular communication in embryonic development and adult tissues. The ultimate goal of the Reiter Lab is to illuminate how cilia function as antennae to help cells interpret their environments, and to use understanding of ciliary communication to develop therapies for associated human diseases such as Polycystic Kidney Disease and Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia.

Most recently, Dr. Reiter has been uncovering how rare genetic defects in primary cilia cause diseases such as Bardet-Biedl and Alström syndromes, which are nearly always accompanied by extreme obesity. A burst of research by Dr. Reiter and others in the past few years has explained how cilia defects lead to the other symptoms of these syndromes, such as extra fingers or toes, retinal defects, and kidney disease.

Dr. Reiter is a strong voice for graduate education and is a dedicated mentor to trainees in his research group and among his collaborators, who appreciate his generosity of time and his approachable and affable style. He is known for his enthusiastic support of the well-being and growth of the faculty, and has been effective in bolstering Basic Sciences at UCSF.

The Biochemistry and Biophysics Department is recognized for its world-class scientific excellence. As Chair, Dr. Reiter has maintained the impressive research strengths of the department, while contributing towards increasing diversity representation in the sciences through developing DEI curricula with the Office of Diversity and Outreach and recruiting a new generation of innovative faculty.

Please join us in expressing our deep gratitude to Dr. Reiter for his myriad contributions to the UCSF Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, and his unwavering leadership and support in advancing the department's mission to contribute to modern medicine through innovation, intensified research, and collaborative expertise.