Two UCSF PhD alums named 2023 Schmidt Science Fellows

Shizhong Dai, PhD ’22 and Michael Schoof, PhD ’22 have both been named 2023 Schmidt Science Fellows. They are among 32 early career scientists from around the world in the sixth cohort of fellows named by Schmidt Futures.

Shizhong Dai headshotShizhong Dai, currently a postdoc at Stanford University with mentor Alice Ting, is a 2022 graduate the Chemistry and Chemical Biology PhD program, where he worked in the Shokat Lab with Professor Kevan Shokat. He has been developing novel inhibitors that target the previously “undruggable” proteins in cancer. As a Fellow, he plans to shift his focus to neurobiology. His goal is to decode the mechanisms behind cell-cell communications that contribute to disease progression. Dai’s ultimate aim is to create innovative chemical biology tools that can improve our understanding and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.


Michael Schoof headshotMichael Schoof is a 2022 PhD graduate USCF’s Tetrad program who studied in the Walter Lab with Distinguished Professor Emeritus Peter Walter and now works jointly between the Bertozzi and Wyss-Cory labs at Stanford University. For his PhD project, Schoof studied the mechanism for activation and inhibition of the cell’s integrated stress response pathway. As a Fellow, he will pivot from biochemistry to neuroscience to examine the role of altered glycosylation and its impacts in the aging brain.

Both Dai and Schoof were nominated to the Schmidt Science Fellows by the Graduate Division in spring 2022, based on their record of achievement and scientific curiosity and their potential for future leadership in science.

Eric and Wendy Schmidt announced the members of the 2023 cohort of Schmidt Science Fellows.  Schmidt Science Fellows receive a stipend of $100,000 a year for up to two years of postdoctoral research in a discipline different from their PhD at a world-leading lab anywhere around the globe. They will attend a Global Meeting Series and training program that introduces them to new research ideas, techniques, and questions; exposes them to a wide range of cutting-edge science, leading thinkers, and institutions; and delivers tailored training in science communication, leadership, and the facilitation of interdisciplinary research and will also receive bespoke mentoring from renowned and accomplished senior scientists.

Launched in 2018, Schmidt Science Fellows was the inaugural program of Schmidt Futures, the philanthropic initiative of Eric and Wendy Schmidt with a mission to find and connect talented people to solve our world’s hardest problems. The Program is delivered in partnership with the Rhodes Trust.  The sixth cohort of Schmidt Science Fellows will join the lifelong community of Fellows, now totaling 145 members from 34 nationalities.