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Danny Petrasek, MD, PhD
Danny Petrasek, MD, PhD

    Dr. Danny Petrasek began his medical career in a traditional internal medicine training program affiliated with the UCLA school of Medicine. He was awarded the prize of UCLA Resident of the Year in his second year of training, and went on to be selected as one of two chief medical residents in charge of the residency program. His interest in research began in his second year of residency. Initially his work focused on the physiology of the endocrine system. As a result of his contributions and awards, he was selected to be part of the UCLA Specialty Training & Advanced Research (STAR) Program, a highly competitive MD-PhD program for the purpose of training first-rate medical scientists, that awards the recipients with scholarships and research funding.

    Dr. Petrasek completed subspecialty training in endocrinology concurrently with his scientific training. Dr. Petrasek recognized both the need and advantage in bridging medical science with technology from non-biological disciplines such as physics, computation and chemistry. In doing so, he became the first physician ever admitted to the California Institute of Technology's (Caltech) premier department of Applied and Computational Mathematics. Dr. Petrasek's PhD thesis broke new ground in establishing a novel theory for the origins of endocrine organs. The description for this theory was also groundbreaking for biology in that it was fully described in mathematical equations: the natural and predictive language of physical science.

    Dr. Petrasek's scientific interests extend into traditional cell and molecular biology and physiology, where his contributions span the fields of dermatology, cardiology, and renal physiology. He has been the recipient of several grants from the NIH, DARPA, and Burroughs Welcome Fund. Dr. Petrasek was also the recipient of the prestigious Keck Discovery Grant for innovative biomedical science. Competing for this prestigious award with all of Caltech faculty, Dr. Petrasek was one of two scientists awarded the funding.

    Dr. Petrasek is currently on the research and teaching faculty in bioengineering and applied and computational mathematics at Caltech and a member of the clinical faculty at the UCLA School of Medicine. He is the author of numerous research and review articles, including for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In addition, Dr. Petrasek is the author of several drug and biotechnology patents and serves as medical director and consultant for several biotechnology companies.

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