The Scripps Research Institute
Former Chair, Immunology Department
CLASS OF 1966
Dr. Richard Ulevitch stands out among health professionals. For more than 35 years, he has worked at the world-renowned Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. He has contributed substantially to the field of immunology through his studies of the molecular mechanisms of the immune response to infection. As a result of his impressive research, Ulevitch was named chairman of the immunology department at the Institute in 1994 and remained in that position until he stepped down in 2008 in order to pursue a new career.
Ulevitch has trained dozens of scientists in his laboratory, authored more than 200 scientific articles, and, through these lifelong efforts, broadened our understanding of immune mechanisms. This work is now being translated into potentially innovative drugs to treat untoward consequences of infection such as septic shock and will be used in the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases.
In 2008, he transitioned from a consultant to a venture partner with 5AM Ventures, a venture capital firm focused in the life sciences. 5AM Ventures invests in promising start-up companies that will become the leading life-science firms of the future, impacting millions of lives. Unlike many venture capital firms, 5AM Ventures invests in early-stage research, which is the riskiest but also has the most promise for changing treatment of serious human disease. In addition to his contributions to biomedical research, Ulevitch has contributed to the San Diego community as a leader in multiple organizations in the arts and social service sectors.
A progressive and well-rounded education always was important to Ulevitch, so he truly enjoyed the benefits of the broad liberal arts education provided at Washington & Jefferson College. Ulevitch completed all requirements for the pre-health program at W&J, but he considered himself more of an English major than a future scientist. Ulevitch says, “My W&J liberal arts training has been a critical component of my success.”