Jack E. Dixon, Ph.D.
Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer
Jack E. Dixon, Ph.D., serves as Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer. Dixon directs HHMI's flagship investigator program, in which leading scientists and their staffs conduct research in HHMI laboratories across the United States. Dixon is also responsible for identifying new opportunities that capitalize on the Institute's expertise in biomedical research and science education.
Dixon joined HHMI in 2007, coming to the Institute from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), School of Medicine, where he had served as dean of scientific affairs. Dixon had also served as a member of HHMI's Medical Advisory Board.
Dixon earned his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1971. After postdoctoral study at UCSD, he joined the biochemistry faculty at Purdue University in 1973. In 1986, he was appointed the Harvey W. Wiley Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry. In 1991, he moved to the University of Michigan, where he served as chair of the department of biological chemistry and held the Minor J. Coon Professorship. He became co-director of Michigan's Life Sciences Institute in 2001, but returned to California in 2003 to rejoin UCSD, this time as dean of scientific affairs.
A member of both the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, Dixon has had a distinguished scientific career. His research has focused on a group of proteins called protein tyrosine phosphatases that govern a key biochemical reaction in which a phosphate group is added to another protein. The reaction, called phosphorylation, serves as a signaling mechanism between living cells. The work has implications for understanding the uncontrolled growth that is characteristic of cancer, the routing of nerve fibers, and the success of disease-causing bacteria and viruses in overcoming the mammalian immune system. Dixon continues to maintain a laboratory at UCSD, where he is also a professor of pharmacology, cellular and molecular medicine, chemistry, and biochemistry.
Photo: Mark Harmel
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