Manglik awarded 2024 Bowes Biomedical Investigator

Aashish Manglik, MD, PhD, faculty member in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, is the newly awarded 2024 Bowes Biomedical Investigator, a program made possible by the William K. Bowes, Jr. Foundation.

The program provides selected scientists with $1.25 million over five years to further their research, allowing biomedical investigators to test new ideas—including ones with a high probability of failure—without endangering their lab support.

Manglik began studying GPCRs (G protein-coupled receptors) at Stanford University, where he earned his medical degree and doctorate in biophysics, in the lab of physiologist Brian Kobilka, MD, winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for pioneering GPCR research.

Since 2010, Manglik has focused on cell signaling—how cells sense and respond to the world around them. Now he is considering his next move.

Manglik is thrilled to receive the Bowes award because it offers him the means to explore new territory—to “pivot hard,” as he puts it. One direction he has long found fascinating has been the intersection of GPCR research and neuropsychiatric diseases.

GPCRs are the single largest family of genes responsible for a myriad of biological processes ranging from vision, smell, and taste to cellular responses to hormones and neurotransmitters. Plus, 30 percent of drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) target a GPCR, such as Ozempic and Wegovy, drugs prescribed to treat type 2 diabetes and obesity.

“UCSF is a wonderful place to set up your own shop and get both support and meaningful critique from others,” says Manglik, who holds a joint appointment in the School of Medicine’s Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care. “That intellectual gift of using your extra brain cells for a few minutes on someone else’s science is really rare, because it is taxing, and it takes effort. But at UCSF, it’s the cultural norm.”


Bowes Biomedical Investigator Takes Aim at Cracking Cellular Communication Code


School of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry

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.