Wells elected member of American Academy of Arts and Sciences

James Wells, PhD, chair of the School’s Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, has been elected as a member of the 2015 class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Founded in 1780, the Academy is one of the nation’s oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers. It convenes leaders from the academic, arts, business, and government sectors to address key global challenges via gatherings, studies, and publications. Past scientific members alone have included Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Graham Bell, Jonas Salk, and Barbara McClintock.

Wells joins department and faculty colleague William DeGrado, PhD, who was elected a member of the Academy in 1998.

Wells has held the School’s Harry Wm. and Diana V. Hind Distinguished Professorship in Pharmaceutical Sciences since 2005 and is founder and director of the department-based Small Molecule Discovery Center.

Among wide-ranging interests, researchers in the Wells Lab probe and analyze key protein interactions and signaling pathways in apoptosis, the programmed self-destruction of aberrant cells that fails to occur in cancers and over-occurs in neurodegenerative diseases. Lab scientists develop new technologies in order to provide the basis for more effective and precisely targeted treatments.

Wells came to UCSF after a career in industry. At Genentech, he was a founding member of the company’s protein engineering department. He was then co-founder, president, and chief scientific officer of Sunesis Pharmaceuticals.

Formal induction of the Academy’s 197 new members will take place at the House of the Academy in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on October 10, 2015.


School of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, PharmD Degree Program, CCB, PSPG, Biophysics

About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy aims to solve the most pressing health care problems and strives to ensure that each patient receives the safest, most effective treatments. Our discoveries seed the development of novel therapies, and our researchers consistently lead the nation in NIH funding. The School’s doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, with its unique emphasis on scientific thinking, prepares students to be critical thinkers and leaders in their field.