FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 22, 2003
Phillip G. Torrez (510) 987-9205
TWO FACULTY MEMBERS NAMED TO PRESTIGIOUS POST OF
The University of California Board of Regents has appointed
Francisco J. Ayala of UC Irvine and Ming T. Tsuang, soon to
join UC San Diego, as University Professors, one of the highest
honors that can be bestowed on UC faculty.
The title University Professor is reserved for scholars
of international distinction who are recognized and respected
as teachers of exceptional ability. The purpose of the University
Professorship is to recognize throughout the university the
special talents of outstanding scholars and teachers.
Prior to the appointments of Ayala and Tsuang, only 33 UC
faculty had been honored with the designation as University
Ayala, in Irvine's department of ecology and evolutionary
biology, is the Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences.
He is widely recognized as one of the most influential and
distinguished scientists in evolutionary biology. In 2001,
he was awarded a National Medal of Science, the nation's highest
Ayala's research focuses on population and evolutionary
genetics, including the origin of species, genetic diversity
of populations, the origin of malaria, the population structure
of parasitic protozoa, and the molecular clock of evolution.
Additionally, he has a long and distinguished career training
doctoral and postdoctoral students and is known as an exceptional
teacher of undergraduates.
Ayala has published more than 750 articles and is the author
or editor of 18 books. He also writes about philosophical
issues concerning epistemology, ethics, the philosophy of
biology, and the exchange between religion and science.
Ayala has received numerous awards and honors in recognition
of his accomplishments as a scholar. They include the Gold
Honorary Gregor Mendel Medal, Czech Academy of Sciences (1994),
the President's Award of the American Institute of Biological
Sciences (1995), the UCI Medal, University of California (1995)
and the William Proctor Prize for Scientific Achievement,
Sigma XI (2000).
Ayala earned his B.S. from the University of Madrid in 1955
and his master's and doctorate degrees from Columbia University
in 1963 and 1964, respectively. In 1965, he began his career
as an assistant professor at Providence University and from
1967 through 1971 was an assistant professor at Rockefeller
He joined the University of California in 1971 as an associate
professor at the Davis campus. In 1987, he was appointed to
the Irvine faculty at the rank of Distinguished Professor.
Tsuang will direct the Institute of Human Behavioral Genomics
in the department of psychiatry at UCSD's School of Medicine
when he moves to San Diego this summer. He is internationally
renowned for his work on human genetics as applied to behavioral
neuropsychiatric diseases and is one of the top genetic epidemiologists
in the world. In addition, he has developed some of the world's
largest samples of sibling pairs of schizophrenics for genetic
Studies of heredity and variation performed early in Tsuang's
career confirmed the importance of genetic factors as one
source of neuropsychiatric illness. His participation in a
World Health Organization-sponsored cross-cultural epidemiological
study of schizophrenia led him to speculate about the underlying
cause of the disorder. In 1965, Tsuang postulated a theory
of multiple-gene causality of schizophrenia that is widely
Convinced that the path to determining the causes, treatment
and ultimately, the prevention of schizophrenia, must be preceded
by a thorough examination and documentation of clinical characteristics,
Tsuang began a 40-year longitudinal outcome and family study
of schizophrenia and manic depression. This work ultimately
provided the first evidence of a distinction between schizophrenia
and affective disorders, and further provided the clinical
criteria for subtypes of schizophrenia that have been adopted
with only minor changes by the American Psychiatric Association
and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Tsuang's continuing research has focused on identifying and
clarifying susceptibility genes for schizophrenia and defining
the environmental risk factors that contribute to the disease.
Tsuang's productivity is underscored by a publication record
filled with groundbreaking papers throughout his career. He
has more than 350 peer review publications, 72 chapters in
scholarly monographs and he has written, edited or co-edited
15 books and monographs. Tsuang is currently editor-in-chief
of the Journal of Neuropsychiatric Genetics, which is a section
of the American Journal of Medical Genetics.
Tsuang is known as a charismatic teacher and lecturer, with
a commitment to training and fostering the careers of young
scholars in genetics and epidemiology.
Tsuang earned his M.D. in medicine from National Taiwan
University's College of Medicine in 1957 and his Ph.D. in
psychiatric genetics from the University of London, Maudsley
Hospital, in 1965. He holds a doctorate of science in psychiatric
epidemiology and genetics from the University of London (1981)
and two honorary masters of science from Brown University
(1983) and Harvard University (1987).
Tsuang was a professor at the University of Iowa College
of Medicine from 1975 to 1982 and as professor and vice chairman
at Brown University from 1982 to 1985. He joined the Harvard
Medical School in 1985. From 1993 through March 2003, Tsuang
was the Stanley Cobb Professor of Psychiatry at the medical
school and director of the Harvard Institute of Psychiatric
Epidemiology in Genetics.
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