David Van Valen, MD, PhD

2005 Hertz Fellow
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David Van Valen is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Biology and Bioengineering at the California Institute of Technology.

David Van Valen studied mathematics (BS 2003) and physics (BS 2003) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, applied physics (PhD 2011) at the California Institute of Technology, and medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA (MD 2013).

David’s past research projects have explored how organisms process and transfer information. His work has demonstrated how signaling proteins can use flexible chains of amino acids to modulate how they respond to chemical stimuli. He has also applied single-molecule techniques to the study of bacterial viruses. In particular, he developed a single-molecule Hershey-Chase experiment, enabling the first visualization of single viruses infecting single bacterial cells in real time.

David is the recipient of a number of awards, including the Johns Hopkins Mathematics Talent Search, Honors at the National Chemistry Olympiad, a NIH MSTP Fellowship, and a Fannie and John Hertz Yaser Abu-Mostafa Graduate Fellowship. When not busy with his studies, David enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading various works of literature, and the martial arts.

Graduate Studies

California Institute of Technology
Physics, Biophysics
Case studies in quantitative biology: Biochemistry on a leash and a single-molecule Hershey-Chase experiment