Anthony Koleske appointed Ensign Professor of MB&B and Neuroscience

Anthony J. Koleske
Anthony J. Koleske

Anthony J. Koleske, newly named as the Ensign Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry (MB&B) and of Neuroscience, studies the biochemical mechanisms that control changes in cell shape and movement in order to understand how these processes break down in cancer and brain diseases.

Koleske, deputy dean for scientific affairs for the basic sciences, focuses his research on the molecular mechanisms by which growth factor and adhesion receptors regulate cell shape, structural stability, and movement. His laboratory has identified a set of receptors, kinases, scaffolding proteins, and cytoskeletal modulators as key regulators of these processes. The goal is to translate these discoveries into improved therapies to block cancer invasion and treat neurodevelopmental disorders.

After receiving a B.S. in biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Koleske undertook Ph.D. studies with Richard Young at the Whitehead Institute/Massachusetts Institute of Technology. For his Ph.D. thesis, Koleske discovered the RNA polymerase II holoenzyme containing the mediator complex, a major advancement in understanding how gene transcription is turned on. He went on to do a postdoctoral fellowship with David Baltimore at MIT, where he began his work studying cellular functions of Abl family kinases, which his laboratory has shown are essential regulators of the cytoskeleton in diverse cell types. 

Koleske joined Yale’s MB&B department in 1998. He holds a joint appointment in the Department of Neuroscience. He served as director of the combined Ph.D. programs in the biological and biomedical sciences at Yale (2014-2019), as director of the China Scholarship Council-Yale World Scholars Program (2014-2020) and co-founded with Faye Rogers and Barbara Kazmierczak, the Yale BioMed SURF Amgen Scholars Program. 

His many awards include a Jane Coffin Childs Postdoctoral Fellowship; Special Fellowship and Scholar Awards from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society; Young Investigator and Established Investigator Awards from NARSAD; and an Established Investigator Award from the American Heart Association. He has served widely on review panels, including terms as chair of the Basic Science Study Section for the American Heart Association and the Neurodifferentiation, Plasticity, Repair, and Rhythmicity Study Section of the National Institutes of Health. 

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