Vanderbilt names Berkeley structural biologist as new dean

June 21, 2022 GMT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Vanderbilt University’s School of Medicine Basic Sciences has tapped one of the world’s leading structural biologists as its new dean, the school announced on Tuesday.

John Kuriyan currently serves as distinguished professor of molecular and cell biology and professor of chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. His research focuses on molecular switches in cells, which has revealed insights into the workings of some cancer drugs. Kuriyan is a co-founder of Nurix Therapeutics, a publicly traded biotech company that is developing therapies for late-stage cancers, according to a news release from Vanderbilt.

“John Kuriyan is recognized around the world for the quality and impact of his research,” said current Dean Lawrence Marnett, who will return to the faculty after a sabbatical. “He will be a beacon for attracting the very best biomedical scientists to campus.”


Kuriyan earned a doctorate in physical chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1986. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University on the dynamics of proteins. He will begin his new role at Vanderbilt on Jan. 1.

C. Cybele Raver, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, said Kuriyan’s appointment will “catapult our research reputation forward.”