Dr. Alan R. Saltiel

Dr. Alan R. Saltiel

Alan R. Saltiel is Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology, and Director of the Institute for Diabetes and Metabolic Health at UC, San Diego. He received his AB in Zoology from Duke University in 1975 with Magna Cum Laude distinction, and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of North Carolina in 1980. From 1981-1984 he did postdoctoral training with Pedro Cuatrecasas at the Wellcome Research Laboratories in Research Triangle Park, NC, studying mechanisms of insulin action.  In 1984 he moved to the Rockefeller University as Assistant Professor, continuing work on the molecular and cellular biology of insulin action.  In 1990 he joined Parke Davis Pharmaceutical Research as Distinguished Research Fellow and Senior Director/Vice President of Cell Biology, and directed drug discovery activities in diabetes, obesity and cancer. He was responsible for preclinical studies on troglitazone, the first thiazolidinedione approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.  He also developed the first MEK inhibitors for the treatment of cancer-the first received FDA approval for melanoma and other cancers.  In 2001, Dr. Saltiel moved to the newly created Life Sciences Institute of the University of Michigan and was named founding Director of the Institute, and John Jacob Abel Professor in the Life Sciences.  In 2015 he moved to the University of California, San Diego to create the Institute for Diabetes and Metabolic Health; he directs the Institute as well as the UCSD/UCLA Diabetes Research Center.
Dr. Saltiel’s primary contributions concern the specificity of receptor signaling events governing metabolism and cellular growth. He uncovered a new pathway critical to the stimulation of glucose uptake by insulin, including the cloning of new adapter proteins, the identification of protein interaction domains that ensure the localization of signaling or cytoskeletal proteins, and the understanding of complex crosstalk among signaling networks. He elucidated how insulin controls dephosphorylation in specialized cellular compartments, by cloning the first “molecular scaffolding” proteins. His laboratory also studied the relationship between obesity and insulin resistance, uncovering an unexpected role of the innate immune system as a molecular link between these two states. 
Dr. Saltiel has received numerous awards, including the Rosalyn Yalow Research and Development Award from the American Diabetes Association, and the Hirschl Award. He has been a member of ASPET since 1988, and won the John Jacob Abel, Goodman and Gilman and Pharmacia-ASPET Awards from the Society. He was elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and elected to membership in the American Society of Clinical Investigation and the National Academy of Medicine. He has given many named lectures and organized numerous meetings and conferences, and served on several advisory panels, scientific and editorial boards, including the Advisory Council of NIDDK.  
In addition to ground-breaking research accomplishments, Saltiel is an inspirational leader, mentoring many students, fellows, and junior faculty, including over a hundred students and fellows in his laboratory. As the founding Director of the Life Sciences Institute at the University of Michigan he created a dynamic environment that encouraged young scientists to collaboratively focus on important problems in human health. As the founding Director of the UCSD Institute for Diabetes and Metabolic Health and the UCSD/UCLA Diabetes Research Center he unites scientists to collaborate in metabolic disease. He is a PI on an NIH T32 training grant and oversees a fellowship program for undergraduate students in metabolic research at UCSD. Throughout his career he has contributed to the mission of ASPET, serving on Grant Review, Research Policy, and the numerous mentoring committees.


  • 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
  • American Journal of Physiology, Editorial Board, 2022-present
  • ELife, Board of Reviewing Editors, 2022-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
  • Election as Fellow of the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 2022​