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Friday, Oct. 15, 2010

S P E C I A L    E D I T I O N

Joe Gray Steps Down as Associate Lab Director for Biosciences

Image of Joe GrayAfter many distinguished years in senior management at Berkeley Lab, Joe Gray, Associate Lab Director for Biosciences and Life Sciences Division Director, has decided to return full-time to his first passion: cancer research. A search for a new Division Director will begin immediately, and Gray will continue to lead the Life Sciences Division until a successor is in place.

Effective immediately, Jay Keasling, CEO of JBEI and former Acting Deputy Laboratory Director, will permanently assume the role of Associate Lab Director for Biosciences and retain his duties at JBEI.

“I would like to thank Joe Gray for his tremendous service to Berkeley Lab and to the University of California,” said Lab Director Paul Alivisatos. “His leadership in cancer research continues to be at the forefront of the field, and he is an important asset to our national laboratory. I look forward to Joe’s future contributions to the development of the Lab's Biosciences program.”

The origins of biomedical research at Berkeley Lab go back to its founding decade when Ernest Lawrence invited his brother John, a physician, to join the Lab and explore the use of radioisotopes in biology and medical research. The Lab became widely known for its pioneering uses of radiation in diagnosing and treating cancer and other diseases.

Gray’s work and the work of the Life Sciences Division builds on this legacy. Gray began his career at Lawrence Livermore National Lab in 1972, conducting forefront research in cell biology until 1991. He then received a joint appointment at UC San Francisco in 1984. In 1992 he joined the staff at Berkeley Lab. He played a central role in the development of numerous tools for modern cell biology including high speed fluorescence activated cell sorting, fluorescence in situ hybridization, comparative genomic hybridization and the widely used BrdUrd/DNA cell cycle analysis procedure. His work has yielded 66 US patents and is described in more than 380 publications.

Today, Gray’s research focuses on genomic, transcriptional and proteomic abnormalities in a search for ways to improve aspects of cancer management, ranging from early detection of metastasis prone cancer to treatment of individual cancers according to their genetic makeup. The ultimate goal is for personalized human cancer treatments.

As Associate Lab Director, Gray also was an early champion for multi-scale imaging approaches, which include techniques that promise to be among the core strengths of the proposed second Berkeley Lab campus. He is a champion of safety, and served as an exemplary leader during the recent DOE HSS review of the laboratory. As Division Director, Gray has successfully led the Life Sciences Division to grow to a total of $65M per year in research expenditures and has continued to solidify the Lab as a national and international leader in cancer biology research. This growth was due in large part to strong leadership in positioning the division as home to team science for biology and as a recognized leader in large multi-institutional research efforts.

Under Gray’s leadership, the Life Sciences Division has played major roles in such efforts as the NIH’s Integrative Cancer Biology Program (ICBP), a program that focuses on the analysis of cancer as a complex biological system. Additionally, the Lab has benefited from exceptional management of collaborative research groups, including the creation of the DOE Low Dose Scientific Focus Area (SFA).

Gray has received more than 10 national and international awards that recognize his many scientific and medical achievements including the E.O. Lawrence Award and Exceptional Service Awards from DOE, the Schiffer Award from the Cell Proliferation Society, the Curt Stern Award of the American Society for Human Genetics and the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction.

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