Ronald Vale

Ronald Vale

2012 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award

Ronald Vale is a professor of cellular and molecular pharmacology at the University of California, San Francisco. His research is focused on molecular motors particularly on kinesin and dynein. He has been awarded the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award in 2012 with Michael Sheetz and James Spudich for their discoveries concerning cytoskeletal motor proteins.

Education and Work Experience
  • 1985, Ph.D. in neuroscience, Stanford University
  • 1994-Present,Professor, UCSF
  • 1995-Present,Investigator, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Honors and Awards
    • 2001, Member, the United States National Academy of Sciences 
    • 2002, Fellow, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    • 2012, Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award
    • 2017, Shaw Prize in life science and medicine

Major Academic Achievements

Prof. Vale’s main research focus has been understanding molecular motor proteins and their role in transporting materials within cells. As a graduate student, Vale, along with colleagues James Spudich, Thomas Reese, Bruce Schnapp, and Michael Sheetz, discovered a new type of molecule motor, which they christened “kinesin.” Kinesin proteins have since been shown to be powerful contributors to various types of microtubule associated molecular movement including mitosis, meiosis, and transport of cellular cargo. Vale was appointed to the University of California San Francisco faculty in 1986, he began to use structural approaches in combination with new microscopic methods for tracking single protein molecules to develop a detailed model of how kinesins generates motion. More recently, Vale has focused on dynein, a microtubule motor that remains less well understood than the kinesins. His laboratory also investigates the assembly of the mitotic spindle and the mechanism of T cell signaling The Vale lab has made significant contributions to the field of cell biology, including discovering the severing protein katanin, characterizing dynein's function and structure, and identifying other new proteins that regulate the cytoskeleton.