Ronald M. Evans, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and professor in the Gene Expression Laboratory at the Salk Institute, is one of world’s most-highly cited scientists on molecular biology and genomics. He is an authority on hormones, and has been involved in the formation of a number of life sciences companies, including San Diego’s Ligand Pharmaceuticals and X-Ceptor Therapeutics, and Waltham, MA-based Syndax Pharmaceuticals. A major achievement of Evans lab was the discovery of a large “superfamily” of nuclear receptors (receptors in the cell nucleus) that share a common mechanism---they are activated by a hormone or vitamin to tweak the activity of a target gene. Some of these hormone receptors are primary targets in the treatment of breast cancer, prostate cancer and leukemia, as well as osteoporosis and asthma. Evans' studies also led to a new hormone that appears to be the molecular trigger controlling the formation of fat cells.
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