Prominent Geneticist to Direct Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center

July 25, 2002
News Office: Wallace Ravven (415) 502-6397

Raymond L. White, PhD, an internationally recognized human genetics researcher, has been appointed director of the UCSF-affiliated Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center.

The 21-year-old institution uses genetic, cellular and molecular approaches to study basic neuroscience and the effects of alcoholism on the brain. The Center is part of the UCSF Department of Neurology.

White, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, is recognized for conceiving the use of natural genetic variations, or polymorphisms, to map disease genes and for demonstrating that tumors can form as a result of a two-step process: inheriting a defective copy of a gene and losing the normal copy. He discovered the genes that cause an inherited colon cancer and neurofibromatosis, a disease in which tumors form in the nervous system, skin and other organs.

"Ray White is a remarkable scientist and a truly visionary academic leader," said Dr. Stephen Hauser, UCSF professor and chair of neurology. "His appointment places the Gallo Center in a remarkable position in its goal to identify the genetic basis of alcoholism, addiction, and related complex disorders. And his arrival at UCSF further strengthens our rapidly expanding community of geneticists on campus."

In addition to directing the Gallo Center, White is expected to be a professor and vice chair of neurology at UCSF and will hold appointments in several other UCSF departments, pending Academic Senate approval. His appointment at the Gallo Center begins October 1, 2002.

"Ray White is a pioneer in contemporary human genetics who has made fundamental contributions to understanding the genetic basis for cancer," said Ira Herskowitz, PhD, professor of biochemistry and co-chair of UCSF's Program in Human Genetics. "He has also distinguished himself as an educator, having trained several of the top human geneticists practicing today. He now wants to turn his attention to identifying genetic contributions to complex phenotypes such as behavior."

In a 20-year career at the University of Utah, White served as chairman of the human genetics department and of the oncological sciences department at the School of Medicine and as executive director and senior director at the university's Huntsman Cancer Institute.

For the past two years he has been the chief scientific officer of DNA Sciences, Inc. in Fremont, California.

He received his bachelor of science degree in microbiology from the University of Oregon, and his doctorate in microbiology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has received a number of awards in recognition of his basic research related to cancer and is the author of more than 250 publications.

White will succeed Dr. Ivan Diamond, PhD, the founding director of the Gallo Center. Diamond led the institution from its inception in 1981 to become one of the world's leading centers on alcoholism and addiction research. The center has a staff of 160 in a 77,000-square-foot laboratory complex. Diamond, UCSF professor of neurology, will continue to serve as an investigator at the Center.

This news release has been modified for the Web site