Dr. Alan R. Saltiel

Dr. Alan R. Saltiel

Dr. Alan Saltiel is Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology, Director of the UCSD Institute for Diabetes and Metabolic Health, and Director of the UCSD/UCLA Diabetes Research Center. He investigates the signaling pathways controlling how and when cells store or burn energy. Understanding these processes may shed light on dysfunctional glucose and lipid metabolism, particularly as it relates to obesity and Type 2 diabetes. He hopes to elucidate the precise function of these pathways and their roles in the pathogenesis of diabetes, with the goal of developing new therapeutic approaches.

Dr. Saltiel has spent his research career in both academia and the pharmaceutical industry. His work has been largely devoted to the role of cellular signaling in understanding the actions of insulin and growth factors; beyond a deeper knowledge of diabetes, this work has also led to insights about cancer, heart disease and nervous system disorders. He has an international reputation as an expert on the hormone insulin and its role in diabetes and cellular signaling. 

Before he joined the UC San Diego faculty in July 2015, Dr. Saltiel was Mary Sue Coleman Director of the Life Sciences Institute at the University of Michigan, and John Jacob Abel Collegiate Professor of the Life Sciences. Prior to joining the University of Michigan in 2001, Dr. Saltiel was Distinguished Research Fellow and Senior Director of the Department of Cell Biology at Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical Research Division (now Pfizer Global Research).

Insulin controls cell growth, differentiation of cell types, gene expression, enzyme activity, and the movement of proteins within a cell. His laboratory has pioneered investigations into how signals are segregated into special regions in cells. They discovered a novel group of proteins called "molecular scaffolds" that direct enzymes and other proteins to specific compartments in the cell. These processes ensure that the right cell responds appropriately to insulin and other hormones. He discovered several drugs for cancer and diabetes, holds 19 patents and has extensive experience with the FDA's testing and approval process for new drugs. He has published over 300 original papers with over 67,000 citations and H-Index of 112.  Professor Saltiel received his AB in Zoology from Duke University and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of North Carolina. 


  • 2015 – Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Diego School of Medicine
  • 2015 – Director, UCSD/UCLA Diabetes Research Center and UCSD Institute of Diabetes and Metabolic Health
  • 2015 – UCSD Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • 2015 - UCSD Department of Medicine Research Committee
  • 2019 - UCSD/Deerfield Partnership (Poseidon) Joint Steering committee
  • 2015 - Health Sciences Research Council
  • 2015 – Diabetes and Metabolism Council
  • 2020 - San Diego Center for Cell Signaling, Executive Committee
  • 2001-2015 – Mary Sue Coleman Director and Research Professor, Life Sciences Institute, University of Michigan  
  • 2001-2015 - John Jacob Abel Professor of Life Sciences, Division of Molecular Medicine & Genetics, Department of Internal Medicine and Department of Molecular & Integrative Physiology, University of Michigan Medical School 
  • 2001-2015 - Faculty Mentor, Cellular & Molecular Biology Graduate Program, University of Michigan  
  • 2001-2015 - Steering Committee Member, Center for Advancing Research & Solutions for Society, University of Michigan  
  • 2001-2015 - Member, Michigan Diabetes Research and Training Center 
  • 2001-2015 - Member, University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center 
  • 2001-2015 - Member, Michigan Comprehensive Diabetes Center 
  • 2001-2015 - Member, Academic Program Group, University of Michigan  
  • 2001-2015 - Committee Member, Biological Sciences Scholars Program, University of Michigan  


  • AB, Zoology (Magna Cum Laude), Duke University, 1975 
  • PhD, Biochemistry, University of North Carolina, 1980 

Memberships and Offices in Professional Societies

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1977
  • New York Academy of Sciences, 1980
  • American Diabetes Association, 1981
  • The Endocrine Society, 1981
  • The Harvey Society, 1984
  • Society of the Sigma Xi, 1987
  • American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 1988
  • American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 1988
  • The Biochemical Society, 1995
  • North American Society for the Study of Obesity, 1996
  • American Society for Clinical Investigation, 2001
  • Pluto Society, American Association of University Pathologists, 2003
  • National Academy of Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences, 2005

 Scientific Boards

  • New York State Health Research Council, Diabetes Research Section, 1985-1988
  • Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International, Medical Science Review Committee, 1988-
  • 1991
  • American Diabetes Association, Committee on Research, 1990-1993
  • Journal of Cellular Biochemistry, Associate Editor, 1989-present
  • National Institutes of Health, Physiological Chemistry Study Section, 1993-1997
  • American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics,
  • Executive Committee of the Molecular Pharmacology Division, 1994-1998
  • American Journal of Physiology, Editorial Board, 1995-2001
  • Journal of Clinical Investigation, Associate Editor, 1997-2002
  • Diabetes, Editorial Board, 1997-1999
  • Endocrinology, Editorial Board, 1997-2001
  • Journal of Biological Chemistry, Editorial Board, 1997-2002
  • Scientific Organizing Committee for the International Symposium on Insulin Receptors and Insulin Action, 1998-present
  • Current Opinion in Oncologic, Endocrine and Metabolic Drugs, Editorial Board, 1998-
  • present
  • Molecular Endocrinology, Editorial Board, 2000-2001
  • Journal of Clinical Investigation, Board of Consulting Editors, 2002-2009
  • Molecular Medicine, Deputy Editor, 2002-2005
  • Cell Metabolism, Editorial Board, 2004-present
  • American Diabetes Association, Research Policy Committee, 2009-2016
  • NIDDK Advisory Council, 2014-2018
  • Mentor Advisory Group, American Diabetes Association's Pathway to Stop Diabetes, 2016-present
  • NIH Director's Early Independence Award, Editorial Board, 2019-present
  • Science Translational Medicine, Board of Consulting Editors, 2019-present
  • Keystone Symposia Study Group, 2021-present
  • Life Metabolism, Editorial Board, 2021-present

Honors and Awards

  • Graduation with Magna Cum Laude Distinction, Duke University, 1975
  • Atlantic Coast Conference Scholar-Athlete Award, 1971-75
  • NIH New Investigator Award, 1984
  • American Diabetes Association Rosalyn S. Yalow Research and Development Award,1984
  • Irma T. Hirschl Scholar, 1986
  • Established Investigator, American Heart Association, 1989
  • John Jacob Abel Award, American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 1990
  • Election to American Society for Clinical Investigation, 2001
  • Kroc Lecturer, University of Pennsylvania, 2004
  • Santiago Memorial Lecturer, Washington University St. Louis, 2005
  • Election to the National Academy of Medicine (Institute of Medicine), National Academies of Sciences, 2005
  • Distinguished Scientist in Basic Research, Clinical Ligand Assay Society, 2006
  • Dozor Scholar, Ben Gurion University, Beersheva, Israel, 2008
  • Election as Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2008
  • Goodman and Gilman Award, American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 2010
  • Charles Hollenberg Memorial Lecturer, University of Toronto, 2010
  • Ruth Okey Memorial Lecturer, University of California, Berkeley, 2011
  • Ray and Robert Kroc Lecturer, University of Pennsylvania Medical School, 2014
  • Nelson Goldberg Memorial Lecturer, University of Minnesota Medical School, 2016
  • Ray A. and Robert L. Kroc Lecturer, Joslin Diabetes Center, 2020
  • Pharmacia-ASPET Award in Experimental Therapeutics, American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 2021