Dear Colleagues: I am pleased to announce that Lukas Tamm, PhD, has been appointed as chair of the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics, effective July 1, 2018.
As a high-school student, Dr. Tamm was in a track that offered a classical humanistic education and very little science. And, although he was a serious musician who played at a high level, his cello teacher advised him against a career in music. Coming from a family of many healthcare professionals, he also contemplated becoming a physician. Ultimately, despite his limited exposure to the sciences, he determined to go in a direction that combined physics and biology as applied to biomedical research.
Dr. Tamm received his basic training in molecular biosciences at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel, Switzerland. He spent a year at Cornell University studying microtubules by electron microscopy as part of his Master’s thesis (1978). He then joined the group of Joachem Seelig at the University of Basel where he earned his PhD in biophysics (1982). After postdoctoral training with Harden McConnell at Stanford University (1982-1984), he became a junior faculty member at the University of Basel. He joined the University of Virginia in 1990, where he is currently the director of the Center for Membrane and Cell Physiology.
Dr. Tamm’s lab is at the forefront of solving membrane protein structures by NMR, developing single molecule tracking and single vesicle fusion technology in cell entry of enveloped viruses and in synaptic vesicle release, and developing methods to measure lipid and protein targeting in supported membranes and lipid “rafts” of cell membranes. He has published more than 170 research and review articles; and served as an associate editor of Biophysical Journal and as a member of the editorial boards of several other biological sciences journals. He has trained a large number of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows many of whom now hold faculty positions, work in industry or in public policy in the US and across the world. He has served on and chaired multiple US and foreign grant review and advisory panels. He served as Secretary and is Past-President of the Biophysical Society.
Thank you to Dr. Mark Yeager who chaired the department since 2007. Dr. Yeager has been an enthusiastic mentor of junior investigators and an innovative collaborator with colleagues throughout the University and beyond. He oversaw the acquisition of a 300kV Titan Krios electron microscope, which was a major contribution to the School’s Molecular Electron Microscopy Core lab. Dr. Yeager will remain on the faculty and will continue his work in structural virology and understanding major medical conditions such as heart attack on a molecular level.
David S. Wilkes, MD
Dean, UVA School of Medicine
James Carroll Flippin Professor of Medical Science