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Rick Klausner, MD

Chief Scientist, Founder and Board Co-Chair

Rick Klausner, MD
"So excited to be part of a new and novel scientific journey that is a realization of years of thinking about different models for doing science and connecting that science to new approaches to medicine. In the end, it’s all about the people and what a wonderful group of colleagues and friends to join in a new adventure."

Dr. Rick Klausner is the Chief Scientist, Founder and Board Co-Chair of Altos Labs.

Rick is also founder and Chair of Lyell Immunopharma, Inc. He was founder and Director of Juno Therapeutics and founder and Director of GRAIL. He is Chairman of Sonoma Biotherapeutics. Co-Founder and Chairman of LifeMine Therapeutics. Rick is the former Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Opportunity Officer of Illumina Corporation. Previously, he was Executive Director for Global Health of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Rick was appointed by Presidents Clinton and Bush as the eleventh Director of the U.S. National Cancer Institute between 1995 and 2001. He served as chief of the Cell Biology and Metabolism Branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development as well as a past president of the American Society of Clinical Investigation. Rick has served in senior advisory roles to the US, Norwegian, Qatari and Indian governments.

More specific to his own research accomplishments, Rick has provided valuable mechanistic insights into cellular processes such as intracellular trafficking, translation, and protein assembly. He has also contributed to the understanding of post translational gene regulation mechanisms through his study of iron metabolism. Furthermore, his investigations into the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) protein have led to further classification of the protein’s tumor suppressive function in the context of renal cell carcinoma. His discovery of the T Cell Zeta chain and how T cells are activated was the basic science breakthrough that led to successful cell-based CAR-T cancer therapy. Throughout his career, Rick has consistently worked to apply the principles of science and technology to address the global cancer burden.

Rick is well known for his work in cell and molecular biology, immunology and human genetics, and has been the author of more than 300 scientific articles and several books, in addition to receiving numerous awards, honorary degrees and other honors. He has served as an Advisor to the Presidents of the Academies for counterterrorism, and Liaison to the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy. He oversaw the writing of The National Science Education Standards, the first such standards for US Science Education. Rick is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.