Ron Evans, Ph.D.

Founder and Professor, Molecular and Developmental Biology, Salk Institute

Dr. Evans is a professor in the Gene Expression Laboratory, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and holds the March of Dimes Chair in Developmental and Molecular Biology at the Salk Institute.  He is an authority on hormones, both their normal activities and their roles in disease. His lab discovered a large family of molecules, named receptors, which respond to steroids, vitamin A, and thyroid hormones, helping to control sugar, salt, calcium, and fat metabolism. In addition to their impact on daily health, these receptors are targets in the treatment of breast cancer, prostate cancer, and leukemia, as well as osteoporosis and asthma. Dr. Evans’ studies also led to the discovery of a new hormone that controls the formation of fat. He also discovered a class of drugs known as “exercise mimetics,” which enhance running performance and promote fat burning even in the absence of exercise. These hormones and investigational drugs represent new potential treatments for obesity-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Evans was the scientific founder of Ligand Pharmaceuticals, X-Ceptor Therapeutics (acquired by Exelixis in 2004), Syndax Pharmaceuticals and is an advisor to Epizyme and Aragon Pharmaceuticals. He has received numerous scientific awards and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine. He serves on the editorial boards of Cell, Cell Metabolism and Genes and Development. Dr. Evans received his Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Rockefeller University.