Dr. Naoko Tanese
Chief Science Officer, Science Advisory Board Chair

Dr. Naoko Tanese is a Japanese-born biomedical researcher who came to the US as a high school exchange student living with an American family in Stone Mountain, GA. She earned a BA in Chemistry at the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Columbia University, focusing on studies of the replication of retroviruses. She trained as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, where she investigated the mechanisms of gene expression in eukaryotes.

In 1993, Dr. Tanese joined the faculty of the Department of Microbiology at New York University School of Medicine. Over two decades, her lab extensively studied transcriptional and post-transcriptional gene regulatory mechanisms in mammalian cells. In the last decade, the lab shifted its focus to understanding the pathogenic mechanisms of Huntington’s disease, a dominantly inherited, fatal neurodegenerative disease.

In 2014, Dr. Tanese was appointed Associate Dean for Biomedical Sciences and Director of what would become the Vilcek Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at NYU School of Medicine. As the director of the graduate program of more than 300 students, she was responsible for overseeing Ph.D. training spanning various areas of biomedical research. Her role encompassed student recruitment and retention tasks, ensuring that all students received training and support throughout their tenure. Under her leadership, the graduate program reinforced its commitment to increasing the diversity of trainees and improving mentor-mentee relationships.

Dr. Tanese joined the Curci Foundation in 2023 as its first Chief Science Officer. She brings her extensive expertise and experience to the Foundation’s scientific endeavors in this new role.