Alan R. Saltiel
Alan Saltiel has built an international reputation as an expert on the hormone insulin, and its role in diabetes and cellular signaling. A native of New Jersey, he has spent his research career in both academia and the pharmaceutical industry.
During his doctorate studies in biochemistry at the University of North Carolina, Saltiel worked on thyroid-stimulating hormone and its relationship to thyroid cancer. As a post-doctoral fellow under Pedro Cuatrecasas in the Wellcome Research Labs in Research Triangle Park, Saltiel began investigating insulin.
Prior to joining the University of Michigan, Saltiel was Distinguished Research Fellow and Senior Director of the Department of Cell Biology at Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical Research Division (now Pfizer Global Research) in Ann Arbor.
Saltiel's work has been largely devoted to the role of cellular signaling in understanding the actions of insulin and growth factors. Beyond a deeper knowledge of diabetes, this work has also led to insights about cancer, heart disease and nervous system disorders.
Insulin controls cell growth, differentiation of cell types, gene expression, enzyme activity, and the movement of proteins within a cell. His laboratory has pioneered investigations into how signals are segregated into special regions in cells. They discovered a novel group of proteins called “molecular scaffolds” that direct enzymes and other proteins to specific compartments in the cell. These processes insure that the right cell responds in the right way to insulin and other hormones.
A deeper understanding of insulin's many actions can lead to insights about new ways to fight diabetes, which is becoming a worldwide epidemic.
In addition to having published over 260 research papers, Saltiel holds 16 patents and has extensive experience with the FDA's testing and approval process for new drugs.