Principal Scientist for the Pacific Northwest Research Institute (PNRI)
David J. Galas, PhD, Hertz Fellow and chair of the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation Board of Directors, is principal scientist for the Pacific Northwest Research Institute (PNRI). Dr. Galas is leading the genetic research studies in support of the Institute’s long-standing fight against the global diabetes epidemic. He is particularly interested in the approach that uses modern technology, like full genome sequencing of both humans and mice, to find the gene and environmental interactions that can be related to the pantheon of pathologies around diabetes.
Previously, Dr. Galas served as senior vice president and professor for the Institute for Systems Biology (ISB), a non-profit research institute with the mission of transforming biological and medical research by creating and using systems approaches to unravel the workings of complex biological systems. Prior to that, Dr. Galas was a co-founder of Keck Graduate Institute, (KGI), where he served as first chief academic officer and chancellor. He was also president and chief scientific officer of Chiroscience R&D, based on the start-up company, Darwin Molecular, which he also co-founded. All of these organizations, including PNDRI, ISB, KGI, Darwin Molecular and Chiroscience R&D are based in Seattle, Washington.
Dr. Galas was director for Health and Environmental Research of the U.S. Department of Energy, were he directed the Human Genome Project. Before his service in Washington, D.C., Dr. Galas was professor and chair of molecular biology at the University of Southern California (USC). He received his MS and PhD degrees in physics from the University of California, Davis-Livermore. He earned his undergraduate degree in physics from the University of California, Berkeley.
Dr. Galas was responsible for discovering the gene that partly regulates bone metabolism. This important breakthrough has led to the development of a new medicine that may eliminate osteoporosis as a health problem. His research interests include molecular biology, human genetics, complex biological network analysis and the development of new technologies for the life sciences. He is a lifetime associate of the National Academy of Science.