External Advisory Committee

Richard Axel, M.D.

University Professor
Columbia University

Dr. Axel holds the titles of University Professor at Columbia University, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics and of Pathology at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons, and Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Axel's primary research interest is how the brain interprets the sense of smell, specifically mapping the parts of the brain that are sensitive to specific olfactory receptors. He and Linda B. Buck, Ph.D., received the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for their discoveries of odorant receptors and the organization of the olfactory system."

Tony Hunter, Ph.D. (Chair)

Professor and Director
The Salk Institute

Tony Hunter, a professor in the Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory and director of the Salk Institute Cancer Center, studies how cells regulate their growth and division, and how mutations in genes that regulate growth lead to cancer. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. His lab has made significant contributions in the area of signal transduction, how signals that stimulate or rein in growth are routed within a cell. His recent work has highlighted the importance of crosstalk and feedback loops in the PI-3 kinase-Akt-mTOR cell growth pathway, has elucidated mechanisms of activation of the ATM protein kinase in response to double strand DNA breaks, and has identified a role for the ERK MAP kinase pathway in the motility of early breast carcinoma cells.

Huda Zoghbi, M.D.

Professor of Pediatrics, Molecular and Human Genetics, Neurology and Neuroscience
Baylor College of Medicine

Dr. Huda Zoghbi is a Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics, Molecular and Human Genetics, Neurology and Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine. She is also an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute (NRI) at Texas Children's Hospital. Dr. Zoghbi has made major contributions to our understanding of childhood neurological disorders and to the discovery of genes essential for normal neurodevelopment. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Stephen Elledge, M.D.

Gregor Mendel Professor of Genetics
Harvard Medical School

Dr. Stephen Elledge is the Gregor Mendel Professor of Genetics in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and the Division of Genetics at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr. Elledge is also an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He has received numerous honors for his groundbreaking work on the mechanisms of DNA damage and cell cycle control, including the Lasker Prize and election to the National Academy of Sciences.

Bonnie Bassler, Ph.D.

Squibb Professor in Molecular Biology, Princeton University
Chair, Department of Molecular Biology
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator

Dr. Bonnie L. Bassler is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and the Squibb Professor of Molecular Biology at Princeton University. Research in the Bassler laboratory focuses on the molecular mechanisms that bacteria use for intercellular communication. The goal is to understand how bacteria detect multiple environmental cues, and how the integration and processing of this information results in the precise regulation of gene expression.

Carol Greider, Ph.D.

Daniel Nathans Professor and Director Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics
Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Johns Hopkins University
Dr. Carol Greider pioneered research on the structure of telomeres, the ends of the chromosomes. She was awarded the 009 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, along with Drs. Blackburn and Szostak, for their discovery that telomeres are protected from progressive shortening by the enzyme telomerase.

Harmit Malik, Ph.D.

Professor and Associate Director
Basic Sciences Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center 

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator
Dr. Harmit Malik studies genetic conflict, the competition between genes and proteins with opposing functions that drives evolutionary change. His research could have implications for a range of diseases, from HIV to cancer. As part of this work, his team developed an approach for identifying genes that divide one species from another, which could help solve the riddle of how new species evolve. Dr. Malik also studies the evolutionary processes that drive our body’s interactions with viruses, including contemporary scourges like HIV as well as ancient viruses whose fossils litter our genome. With Hutch colleagues, he has characterized the rapidly evolving interface between proteins on human cells and viruses that make us sick. This work has highlighted surprising deviations from “textbook” models of these interactions, and it is revealing gene variants that could influence our susceptibility to infection.