David Van Valen

Hertz Fellow: David Van Valen

California Institute of Technology

Area of Study

Applied Physics; Biological Physics

Fellowship Years

2005 - 2010

David Van Valen is a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University. He received a BS in mathematics and physics in 2003 from MIT, his PhD in applied physics from Caltech in 2011, and his MD from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in 2013. David’s past research projects have explored how living systems process and transfer information.

David’s work has demonstrated how signaling proteins can use flexible chains of amino acids to modulate how they respond to chemical stimuli. He also has applied single-molecule techniques to the study of bacterial viruses. In particular, he developed a single-molecule Hershey-Chase experiment, enabling the first visualization of single viruses infecting single bacterial cells in real time.

David is the recipient of a number of awards, including the Johns Hopkins Mathematics Talent Search, Honors at the National Chemistry Olympiad, an NIH MSTP Fellowship, and the Fannie and John Hertz Yaser Abu-Mostafa Graduate Fellowship. When not busy with his studies, David enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading various works of literature, and the martial arts.


2011 - Case studies in quantitative biology: Biochemistry on a leash and a single-molecule Hershey-Chase experiment