Ronald A. Evans' scientific contributions in the field of nuclear receptors and their function have been seminal. His work is in an area that has wide medical application. In 1985, his cloning and characterization of the first nuclear hormone receptor, the human glucocorticoid receptor, heralded a "molecular revolution" that transformed the field and, with it our understanding of how hormones, fat-soluble vitamins and dietary lipids elicit changes in gene expression in health and disease. In the years that followed, he uncovered nearly 50 such receptors that, taken together, constitute the nuclear receptor superfamily and represent an important mechanistic link between diet, exercise and a myriad of human diseases, including cancers, diabetes and osteoporosis. Particularly noteworthy was the discovery of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) family of orphan receptors that provided "a molecular interface between dietary fats and the genome."
Ronald M. Evans, born in East Los Angeles, California, received his BA in Bacteriology (1970) and PhD in Microbiology (1974) at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He completed postdoctoral work at the Rockefeller University in New York in the laboratory of Dr. James Darnell. In 1978, he joined the faculty of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California. He is currently the March of Dimes Chair in Molecular and Developmental Biology at the Salk Institute and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He is a recipient of numerous awards including membership in the National Academy of Sciences (1989), the 1st Bristol-Meyers Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Metabolic Research (2000), the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award (2004) and the "Grande Medaille D'Or" from the French Academy of Sciences.