Jerold Chun, M.D., Ph.D.

Jerold Chun profile photo

Jerold Chun, M.D., Ph.D.

Senior Vice President, Neuroscience Drug Discovery

Research Assistant Professor(s)

Lab Website

Jerold Chun's Research Focus

Alzheimer's Disease, Hydrocephalus, Multiple Sclerosis
Aneuploidy, Development of Neuronal Circuits, Development and Differentiation, G-Protein Coupled Receptors, Mosaicism, Lipids, LPA, S1P, Single cell, Genome
Brain, Nervous System
  1. Genomic Mosaicism in the Brain: Genomic mosaicism (GM) is a surprising phenomenon whereby cells from the same brain actually have distinct genomes (different DNA sequences). We continue to define forms of GM, involved cell types, and GM’s impact on normal brain function and disease. Diseases of particular interest include Alzheimer’s disease, Down syndrome, Parkinson’s, and other neurodegenerative diseases as well as neuropsychiatric disorders and substance abuse.
  2. Lysophospholipid Receptor Signaling: Lysophospholipids, such as lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) and sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) are small fat molecules that act through G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) on the surface of cells. We continue to study fundamental aspects of their signaling properties, and their disease roles in hydrocephalus (water on the brain), neuropsychiatric disorders (schizophrenia, autism), and neurodegenerative disorders (multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease).
  3. Neuroscience Drug Discovery: From these and other research areas, new therapeutics for diseases of the brain are being pursued, which include identifying new targets, novel biomarkers, and mechanism-of-action studies. This approach successfully aided in the development of the first oral treatment for multiple sclerosis, fingolimod, and related lysophospholipid receptor compounds. Drug discovery efforts include not only small molecules, but also other forms of molecular therapeutics.

Jerold Chun's Bio

  • M.D., Ph.D. (Neurosciences), Stanford University School of Medicine
  • Postdoctoral Studies, Whitehead Institute at MIT
  • Professor at UCSD and TSRI
  • Department Head, Molecular Neuroscience, Merck Research Labs



  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Whitehead Institute/MIT, laboratories of Drs. Rudolf Jaenisch and David Baltimore, Developmental and Molecular Biology, 1988-1991
  • M.D., Ph.D., Stanford University School of Medicine, Neuroscience, 1988
  • B.A., University of Hawaii at Manoa, English and Biology, 1981


HONORS & Recognition

  • 2016: Alzheimer’s San Diego Courage and Hope Award 
  • 2014: Thomson Reuters World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds list of highly cited researchers 
  • 2011: Killam Lecturer, Montreal Neurological Institute 
  • 2010: Journal of Lipid Research Lecturer, Keystone Symposium on Bioactive Lipids: Biochemistry and Diseases, Kyoto, Japan 
  • 2007: Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Neuroscience, LSU Medical School 
  • 1999-2006: Independent Scientist Award, NIMH 
  • 1994-1999: First Award, NIMH 
  • 1993-1995: Basil O'Connor Scholar (March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation), UCSD 
  • 1992-1995: Klingenstein Fellow in the Neurosciences, UCSD 
  • 1992-1994: Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, UCSD 
  • 1988-1991: Helen Hay Whitney Fellow, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research 
  • 1981-1988: Trainee, Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), Stanford University School of Medicine 


Lee MH, Siddoway B, Kaeser GE, Segota I, Rivera R, Romanow WJ, Liu CS, Park C, Kennedy G, Long T, Chun J
Nature 2018 Nov;563(7733):639-645
Bushman DM, Kaeser GE, Siddoway B, Westra JW, Rivera RR, Rehen SK, Yung YC, Chun J
Elife 2015 Feb 4;4
Tabbai S, Moreno-Fernández RD, Zambrana-Infantes E, Nieto-Quero A, Chun J, García-Fernández M, Estivill-Torrús G, Rodríguez de Fonseca F, Santín LJ, Oliveira TG, Pérez-Martín M, Pedraza C
Front Mol Neurosci 2019;12:146
Lee MH, Chun J
J Exp Neurosci 2019;13:1179069519849669
Niazi H, Zoghdani N, Couty L, Leuci A, Nitzsche A, Allende ML, Mariko B, Ishaq R, Aslan Y, Becker PH, Gazit SL, Poirault-Chassac S, Decouture B, Baudrie V, De Candia E, Kono M, Benarab A, Gaussem P, Tharaux PL, Chun J, Provot S, Debili N, Therond P, Proia RL, Bachelot-Loza C, Camerer E
Blood Adv 2019 Jun 11;3(11):1702-1713