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Steve A. Kay, Ph.D., D.Sc.


Director of Convergent Biosciences
Provost Professor of Neurology, Biomedical Engineering and Biological Sciences


Dr. Kay will lead interdisciplinary teams of researchers from across the university to advance our understanding of human health and accelerate the development of new life-saving biomedical devices and therapeutics.

Dr. Kay’s research involves the large-scale application of genomics technologies and systems approaches to understand complex regulatory networks in plant and animal cells. He has applied functional genomics screens and chemical biology approaches to elucidate the composition of the molecular circuitry underlying circadian rhythms. His group identified the first small molecule modulators of clock proteins. His recent interests lie at the interface between quantitative and experimental science, as well as continuing to apply high throughput technologies to the discovery of therapeutics. One of the world’s top experts on genes and circadian rhythms, he has published more than 200 papers and is named by ISI as a highly cited scientist. He  has been cited in Science magazine’s “Breakthroughs of the Year” three times since 1997.

Dr. Kay recently held the position as the President of The Scripps Research Institute, and previously at USC the 21st dean of the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences where he held the Anna H. Bing Dean’s Chair and professor of molecular and computational biology in USC Dornsife as well as professor of neurology, physiology and biophysics at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.  As Dean of Biological Sciences at UC San Diego he held the Richard C. Atkinson Chair in Biological Sciences. He has also held faculty positions at The Rockefeller University, University of Virginia, and The Scripps Research Institute. He also served as the Director of Discovery Research at the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF), where he helped build research programs applying human genome science to biomedical research and drug discovery.

He has received numerous awards, including election to the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. Dr. Kay has served on the advisory boards to Althea, Bayer AG, Monsanto, Novartis, Toyota Motor Corp and BP, amongst others. Dr. Kay is trained in genetics and genomics. He received his Ph.D. and was recently granted an honorary D.Sc. degree from the University of Bristol, UK.

Steve Kay Lecture: “Large Scale Discovery Approaches to Circadian Networks”


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