Dr. Randal Kaufman, one of the world’s most influential scientific minds

| Written by sgammon
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Last week, Thomson Reuters published a list of the world’s most influential scientific minds—195 of them in biology and biochemistry to be exact. Thomson Reuters created the list based on scientists that write the most reports that rank among the top 1 percent cited by other scientists between the years 2002 and 2012. To no surprise from us at Sanford–Burnham, Randal Kaufman, Ph.D., professor and director of the Degenerative Disease Program, was on the list.

Dr. Kaufman has been a major contributor to our understanding of how protein folding—and misfolding—lead to cell malfunctions and death. His research is particularly important to many diseases, including neurological, metabolic, genetic and inflammatory disorders. His research also explains some of the symptoms associated with aging.

Dr. Kaufman has a long history of contributions to science in industry and academia. As Ph.D.graduate student at Stanford University, he discovered that cancer cells develop drug resistance by gene amplification. As a post-doctoral fellow working with Nobel laureate Dr. Phillip Sharp at MIT, he studied gene amplification and new ways to express proteins in mammalian cells.

After post-doctoral work, Dr. Kaufman co-founded a company called the Genetics Institute Inc., a biotechnology company focused on treatments for hemophilia and many other disorders, including the development of technology that led to the FDA-approved drugs for hemophilia and erythropoietin for cancer and anemia.  After leaving the Genetics Institute, Inc. he took a position as HHMI investigator and endowed chair in the departments of Biological Chemistry and Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan.  He joined us at Sanford-Burnham in 2011 where he leads the Degenerative Disease Program.

Let us all take advantage of the fact that we have this incredible individual at our Institute and discover five interesting facts about the man with the brilliant brain.

If you could invite 5 people to dinner who would they be? Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, Charles Darwin, Princess Diana and Brian Williams

What traits do  you most admire in people? Intelligence, confidence, and a sense of humor

What traits do you most deplore in people? Laziness, conceit and selfishness

What is your idea of a perfect weekend in San Diego? Sailing with my wife, Donna and three boys, Joshua, Kyle, and Maverick

If a genie granted you three wishes, what would they be? World peace, a cure for cancer, and unlimited NIH support for my research

From all of us at Sanford-Burnham, we congratulate you Dr. Kaufman and we hope your wishes come true!



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