Sandra Schmid named CZ Biohub Chief Scientific Officer

June 27, 2020
Schmid has served as a JCC Scientific Advisory Board member since 2017

Dr. Sandra Schmid will be the first Chief Scientific Officer at the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, “a nonprofit research organization setting the standard for collaborative science, where leaders in science and technology come together to drive discovery and support the bold vision, to cure, prevent or manage disease in our children’s lifetime.”

Schmid, a former faculty member at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, was recently elected to the National Academy of Sciences, and she has served as a JCC Board member since 2017. Her scientific expertise is in the molecular mechanisms and regulation of clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME), characterizing the differential regulation of CME in normal and cancer cells and analyzing the structure and function of the GTPase, dynamin.

At CZ Biohub, Schmid’s first priority is to integrate the science being conducted by external CZ Biohub-funded investigators at Stanford, UC San Francisco, and UC Berkeley and by talented scientific group and technical platform leaders housed within the CZ Biohub with the overall mission to cure and manage human disease.

“The initial focus is on infectious disease,” Schmid says, “where CZ Biohub has mobilized in impressive ways to diagnose, understand and treat Sars-CoV2, and cell biology, where efforts are being made to define cell types and their functions in health and disease.”

She will also mentor, advise, and challenge the on-site group leaders and platform leaders and to aide them in their career development.

“The scientific enterprise is more complicated than it was when I started 40 years ago and effective mentorship can lower stress levels, mitigate pit-falls, and contribute to a scientist’s success, at all levels,” she says.

Dr. Schmid was born in Vancouver, Canada and later pursued graduate studies with Jim Rothman at Stanford University. She was a Helen Hay Whitney postdoctoral fellow and Lucille P. Markey Scholar with Ira Mellman and Ari Helenius at Yale and moved to The Scripps Research Institute as an Assistant Professor in 1988. She served as Chair of the Department of Cell Biology at TSRI from 2000-2012, before being recruited to UTSW.  She served as President of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) in 2011 and has received numerous awards, including the ASCB Women in Cell Biology Junior and Senior Career Recognition Awards, an NIH MERIT Award, and the Arthur Kornberg and Paul Berg Lifetime Achievement Award in Biomedical Sciences.

“These are very trying times and scientists can be an important source of ‘ground truth’ and leadership,” Schmid says. “We are a respected profession and should not be afraid to speak out and to support efforts for change in our communities.”