Utpal Banerjee is the Irving and Jean Stone Professor and Chair of the Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of California, Los Angeles with a joint appointment in the Department of Biological Chemistry at the David Geffen School of Medicine. In addition, he serves as Co-Director of the Broad Stem Cell Research Center and as Director of the UCLA Interdepartmental Minor in Biomedical Research. He is also a member of UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and is affiliated with the Brain Research Institute and the Neuroscience Graduate Program. He was amongst the first cohort of professors nationally to be awarded a $1 million grant and named HHMI Professors by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to creatively improve undergraduate science teaching.
UCLA named Banerjee one of the "Best 20 Professors" of the "Bruin Century." He has also been recognized with the Luckman, Ebi, and Gold Shield awards, the highest research and teaching awards in any subject, including Humanities and Social Sciences at UCLA. In 2008, Banerjee was inducted as Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Science. In 2009, he was named the Irving and Jean Stone Chair in Life Sciences and was elected Fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science. In 2010, the Genetics Society of America awarded him with the Elizabeth W. Jones Award for Excellence in Education. And in 2011, Banerjee was awarded the National Institutes of Health Director’s Pioneer Award.
A native of New Delhi, India, Banerjee earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from St. Stephen's College, Delhi University, India and obtained his Master of Science degree in Physical Chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India. In 1984, he obtained a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology. His transition into Biology was earmarked by his postdoctoral research training with Dr. Seymour Benzer at Caltech where he initiated research in molecular neurogenetics of eye development in Drosophila. At UCLA, Banerjee’s laboratory has worked on several oncogenic and metabolic signals that are important in development and disease. His laboratory studies the effects of systemic signals on the maintenance of blood progenitors in Drosophila. He also studies the role of metabolic pathways in the control of proliferation and differentiation in the preimplantation mouse embryo.