UPLIFT Leadership at UCLA

Michael Carey

Co-Director of IRACDA
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Department of Biological Chemistry

Email: mcarey@mednet.ucla.edu
Office Location:
351A Biomedical Sciences Research Building
615 Charles E. Young Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Ph: (310) 206-7859

Dr. Carey studies biochemical mechanisms of gene activation and silencing. In 1990, Dr. Carey established biochemical systems for studying gene regulation based on a model transcriptional activator termed GAL4-VP16. Using that system, Dr. Carey established a mechanism by which genes are controlled synergistically by upstream activators. Synergy is a key principle in gene regulation and underlies the combinatorial control of gene transcription. Throughout the 1990s, Dr. Carey’s lab showed that synergy is first manifested during assembly of transcription preinitiation complexes (PICs). His lab identified assembly of a co-activator complex, termed DAMed, as the key step influenced by activators. More recently, Dr. Carey has been studying the biochemistry of transcription on chromatin templates after a one year sabbatical at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in 2006. Dr. Carey’s lab has shown how a protein termed p300 coordinates chromatin modification with assembly of the DAMed complex and then the PIC. His lab has also shown how a protein termed HP1 silences transcription by selectively affecting key components of the DAMed complex. Dr. Carey’s recent work has focused on recreating the effects of histone methylation on gene activation and silencing in vitro. Dr. Carey served as Director of the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center Gene Regulation Program from 1999-2005 and 20011-present. Dr. Carey started the Cold Spring Harbor Eukaryotic Gene Expression Course with his UCLA colleague, Dr. Steven Smale, and served as course director in 1997. Drs. Carey and Smale wrote a 650-page textbook titled “Transcriptional Regulation in Eukaryotes; Concepts, Strategies and Techniques.” The first edition was published by CSHL Press in 2000 and the second edition was published in 2009. Dr. Carey is a scientific cofounder of Agensys, a biotechnology company focused on prostate cancer therapy. In 2000, during a leave of absence from UCLA, Dr. Carey served as Director of Biology at Genesoft, a company focused on cancer therapeutics targeting transcription factor binding sites in the genome. From 2006-2010, Dr. Carey was Chief Scientific Advisor for OncoTx, a biotech company focused on using transcription factors as therapeutic targets in melanoma and other cancers. Dr. Carey is on numerous committees at UCLA that oversee undergraduate and graduate research education.


1998-2000 CaPCURE Research Awards
1998 JCCC David Paul Kane Scholar

Claudio Villanueva

Co-Director of IRACDA
Department of Integrative Biology&Physiology

Email: cvillanueva@ucla.edu
Office Location:

Ph: (310) 825-4369

Claudio J. Villanueva is an Associate Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology. Dr. Villanueva studies transcriptional regulation of metabolism and chromatin remodeling. His lab has identified genes that promote energy storage in adipocytes. His work highlights the role of TLE-family members in regulating gene expression in development of adipose tissue. His recent work highlights how developmental pathways regulated by TLE3 suppress mitochondrial gene expression. Dr. Villanueva was the chair of recruitment at the University of Utah and implemented several initiatives that promote diversity and inclusion for graduate students and postdocs. He has also participated in committees for graduate student admissions, MD/PhD admissions, faculty promotion, faculty recruitment, and advisory board for Diabetes and Metabolism Center at the University of Utah. He was instrumental in establishing the University of Utah SACNAS chapter and participated as the faculty advisor. He has participated in the organizing committee for the NIH Network of Minority Research Investigators where he has developed training workshops for graduate students and postdocs. As an underrepresented minority he has personal experience in the challenges and opportunities available to postdocs interested in academic science. With Dr. Carey he has developed an innovative training program for UCLA IRACDA postdocs.



Lynn Talton

Program Coordinator for IRACDA
Director, Office of Postdoc Affairs in Biosciences

Email: LTalton@mednet.ucla.edu
Office Location: Geffen Hall #300
Ph: (310) 825-1391

As Director of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs in the David Geffen School of Medicine, Dr. Talton is committed to ensuring a positive postdoctoral training environment and fostering the successful professional development of UCLA’s biomedical and life scientists. Dr. Talton promotes a successful bioscience training environment by developing career training activities targeted to advanced degree holders, leading training programs in grant-writing, teaching, and biomedical research ethics, and advocating for postdoctoral scholars within the university and beyond. As a UCLA former postdoctoral scholar, and now instructor and administrator for PhD trainees, Dr. Talton has first-hand experience in the challenges of postdoctoral education and career building and the types of issues and experiences challenging UCLA’s trainees today. As Program Coordinator for IRACDA@UCLA, Dr. Talton manages recruitment and interviews, oversees training requirements, facilitates some of the instructional and professional development training for IRACDA fellows, and coordinates program logistics.

In addition to her administrative roles, Dr. Talton teaches MIMG C234 – Ethics and Integrity in Biomedical Research and the RCR Refresher Course, the primary responsible conduct in research and biomedical ethics courses for the basic biosciences. She leads a grant-writing group for NIH Individual Postdoctoral Fellowships; directs a teaching training program designed to give postdocs the opportunity to observe, co-lead discussions, and participate in course planning; and is an NRMN/CIMER Entering Mentoring trained facilitator co-leading mentor training for postdocs and faculty in the biosciences.


Rachel Kennison

Program Co-Coordinator for Teaching Development

Email: rkennison@ceils.ucla.edu
Office Location: 210 Hershey Hall
Ph: (310) 825-6216

Rachel Kennison is active in the development of courses and initiatives to improve undergraduate STEM education and provides professional development and training to graduate students, post doctorate scholars and faculty in evidence based teaching practices, mentoring and teaching through diversity. Dr. Kennison earned her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College, M.S. in Clinical Social Work from Columbia University and her Ph.D. in Biology from UCLA in 2008. Her research interests were in the structure and function of southern California estuaries.

As Associate Director for Professional Development and Student Engagement in the Center for Education, Innovation and Learning in the Sciences (CEILS), Dr. Kennison serves as the Program Coordinator for the UCLA@CIRTL program (Center for the Integration or Research, Teaching and Learning), facilitating learning communities for graduate students and post doctoral scholars to learn about evidence-based teaching practices and participate in Teaching-as-Research projects en route to obtain their CIRTL certification.

Advisory Board Members

Name Title | Affiliation
Beth Lazazzera Associate Professor, Microbiology, Immunology, & Molecular Genetics, UCLA
Nancy McQueen Associate Dean, College of Natural and Social Sciences, CSULA


Professor, Biological Sciences, CSULA

Gregory Payne Associate Dean, Graduate Education, Life Sciences, UCLA


Associate Dean, Bioscience Graduate Education, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA

Director, Graduate Programs in Bioscience

Professor, Biological Chemistry, UCLA

Stephen Smale Vice Dean for Research, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA


Distinguished Professor, Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics

Sherie L. and Donald G. Morrison Chair, Molecular Immunology

Jorge Torres Associate Professor, Chemistry & Biochemistry, UCLA