Daniel Linzer became the President of Research Corporation for Science Advancement on October 1, 2017, after serving on the faculty and in the administration of Northwestern University.
Dan is exceptionally accomplished both in his field of research and in his work as an academic and foundation leader. Staff at RCSA describe him as one of the best humans they know.
Linzer received his bachelor of science degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in biochemical sciences from Princeton University.
As an undergraduate, he conducted biophysics research on bacterial motility, as well as plant genetics research on tree growth. His graduate thesis research in the laboratory of Arnold Levine was the discovery of p53, which has since been recognized as “the guardian of the genome,” the central protein in preventing a cell from becoming a cancer cell. As a postdoctoral fellow working with Dan Nathans at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Linzer identified genes that are activated during the switch of mammalian cells from a non-growing to a growing state. He found that one of these genes encodes a novel hormone, and this hormone became the focus of his research as a faculty member.
Linzer joined Northwestern University in 1984 as an assistant professor, and was promoted to associate and then full professor of molecular biosciences. Follow-up studies on the growth-related hormone revealed it, along with closely related hormones, to be produced in the placenta and to control pregnancy-related changes in the development of the maternal, and possibly the fetal, blood system. Two of these hormones were shown to regulate blood vessel growth, whereas other family members controlled blood cell maturation and differentiation. Linzer taught a range of courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels on cell biology, molecular biology, and developmental biology. Among the awards he has received were the Searle Scholars Award, the American Cancer Society Faculty Research Award, and the Northwestern Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award. Linzer served as Associate Dean for the Sciences in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences of Northwestern University from 1998-2002, and then as Dean of Weinberg College from 2002-2007. In 2007, he was appointed the Provost of Northwestern University, a position he held for 10 years until joining RCSA.
Some scenes from the January 5, 2024 Catalina Rotary Club meeting.