David Van Valen (PhD '11), assistant professor of biology and biological engineering, has been named a 2021 Moore Inventor Fellow. He is one of five fellows named this year by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
Each fellow will receive $825,000 to "further the development of new tools and technologies that promise to accelerate progress in the foundation's areas of interest: scientific discovery, environmental conservation, and patient care," according to a release issued by the foundation.
Van Valen's research aims to understand how living systems store, process, and transfer information, and how problems with this biological information processing are related to human diseases.
Van Valen, who is also an investigator at the Heritage Medical Research Institute, joined the Caltech faculty in 2018. As part of the UCLA–Caltech Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), he received his PhD from Caltech in 2011 and his MD from UCLA in 2013. Van Valen was named a Rita Allen Foundation Scholar in 2020, and a Pew–Stewart Scholar earlier this year.
Other fellows named by the Moore Foundation this year are Gozde Durmus of Stanford University School of Medicine, Shyam Gollakota of the University of Washington, Marta Hatzell of the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Max Shulaker of MIT.
Other Caltech faculty members to be named a Moore Inventor Fellow in recent years include Joseph Falson, assistant professor of materials science, and Viviana Gradinaru (BS '05), professor of neuroscience and biological engineering and director, Center for Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience.
Van Valen is an affiliated faculty member of the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience.