Herbert Memorial Lecture

The Herbert Memorial Story

vollum_edherbert_nasThe Herbert Memorial Lecture is given annually in honor of the Vollum's founding director, Edward Herbert. This event is sponsored by Cell Signaling Technology, which is directed by Michael Comb, a former Herbert graduate student. Each year, an outstanding scientist is invited to engage in discussion and fellowship with Vollum faculty and students, as well as to give an open talk to the university. Invited speakers embody the values of thorough, far-reaching, and elegant scientific investigations, for which Dr. Herbert was well known. They include Nobel Laureates Rod MacKinnon, Phillip Sharp, Erwin Neher, and Richard Axel.

The Vollum Institute has fulfilled its founders' aspirations by becoming a world-class neuroscience research institute that stands today as a testimony to his vision.

Dr. Herbert was posthumously elected to the National Academy of Sciences after his death on February 19, 1987.

Download Dr. Herbert's obituary (124 KB) written by John Adelman for the NAS.


David Julius: 2015 Herbert Memorial Lecturer

David Julius, Ph.D., UCSF

Photo by Cindy Chew

David Julius received his Ph.D. from the University of California under the guidance of Jeremy Thorner and Randy Schekman and conducted his postdoctoral work with Richard Axel at Columbia University. He joined the faculty in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at University of California at San Francisco and now serves as the Morris Herzstein Chair in Molecular Biology and Medicine and Professor and Chair of Physiology. Julius has been recognized by the NIH as a Jacob Javits Awardee, by the NSF as a Presidential Investigator and by both the McKnight and Pew Foundations. He is a recipient of the Kenneth S. Cole award, and in 2010 he was awarded the prestigious Shaw Prize in Life Sciences. He is a standing member of the National Academy of Science, Institute of Medicine of the National Academies and American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has served as an advisor to the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, the Pew Foundation and the McKnight Foundations, as well as NINDS Advisory Council. In addition to his many scientific contributions, Julius has been a vibrant mentor to a multitude students and postdoctoral fellows.

Dr. Julius was the first to clone the serotonin receptor and, along with the purinergic receptor, he helped expand our understanding of ionotropic receptor function. He is best known, however, for being the first to identify the receptors underlying thermal sensation. His innovative screening strategy uncovered a role for TRP channels, when the diverse roles played by these channels were only beginning to emerge. Julius extended his studies to other TRP family members to solve questions such as cool sensation. To explore the molecular basis of thermal transduction he used recently developed high resolution microscopic and crystallographic analyses. He now turns his attention to understanding how activation of thermal receptors leads to the encoding of pain in the nervous system.

Learn more about David Julius' current research at UCSF

Past Herbert Memorial Speakers


TRP channels of the pain pathway: Connecting physiology to atomic structure
David Julius, Ph.D.
University of California, San Francisco


Phosphoinositide signaling in the control of membrane dynamics and interactions
Pietro DeCamilli, M.D.
HHMI, Yale University School of Medicine


Modulating the gain of channels, cascades, and circuits
Richard Tsien, Ph.D.
New York University Langone Medical Center


Novel neural messengers of life and death
Solomon H. Snyder, M.D.
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine


Information processing and integration of the basal ganglia
Shigetada Nakanishi, M.D., Ph.D.
Osaka Bioscience Institute


The emergence and function of spinal motor circuits
Thomas Jessell, Ph.D.
HHMI, Columbia University Medical Center


Making an Effort to Listen: Mechanical Amplification by Myosin Molecules and Ion Channels in Hair Cells of the Inner Ear
A. James Hudspeth, M.D., Ph.D.
The Rockefeller University


Watching the Brain Compute and Tracing Its Wires: New Methods to Solve Old Riddles
Winfried Denk, Ph.D.
Max-Planck Institute for Medical Research


An Rb/E2F/DP Complex and Chromatin Remodeling Antagonize a Ras Pathway during C. elegans Vulva Development
Robert Horvitz, Ph.D.
HHMI, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Oxygen Sensation: Unconventional Signaling for an Unconventional Sense
Cori Bargmann, Ph.D.
HHMI, The Rockefeller University


The Atomic Basis of Selective Ion Conduction in Potassium Channels
Rod MacKinnon, M.D.
HHMI, The Rockefeller University


RNA Splicing and RNA Interference
Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Ca2+ Signals Controlling Neurotransmitter Release and Short Term Synaptic Plasticity
Erwin Neher, Ph.D.
Max-Planck Institut für Biophysikalische Chemie


The Return of the Human Genome
Sydney Brenner, Ph.D.
Molecular Sciences Institute, Inc.


The Molecular Biology of Smell
Richard Axel, M.D.
HHMI, Columbia University


Potassium Channel Regulation
Lily Jan, Ph.D.
HHMI, University of California, San Francisco


Trimeric G Proteins: Structure and Function
Henry Bourne, M.D.
University of California, San Francisco


ARIA: A Protein that Promotes the Maturation of Synapses
Gerald D. Fischbach, M.D.
Harvard Medical School


New Aspects of Peptide Hormone Biosynthesis
Donald F. Steiner, Ph.D.
HHMI, University of Chicago


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