Holly A Ingraham, PhD

Professor Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology Herzstein Endowed Professor

Postdoctoral Fellow - Salk Institute and UCSD (Rosenfeld Lab)
PhD in Physiology and Pharmacology, UCSD (Goulian Lab)
BAs in Biology and Psychology, UCSD (Revelle College)


    UCSF Profile: HA Ingraham 
    Email: [email protected]
    NIH_BioSketch_2022: Ingraham.pdf


I was born in Ukiah, California, where my father worked for the Masonite Lumber Co., and my mother worked as a social worker for Mendocino County. Before landing in the East Bay, I briefly experienced the deep south in Laurel, Mississippi, where images of a segregated society, severe poverty for some, and the turmoil associated with federally mandated desegregation stood out.

Those who devote their lives to creative pursuits are often inspired by a single person or event. Mine came from an outstanding 10th-grade biology teacher, Mr. Jones, who introduced me to DNA at Ygnacio Valley, a public high school. An 1890 Bausch & Lomb microscope also came into my possession when I was ten years old after being shipped west from Worcester, Massachusetts, from my great-grandfather. I picked it up and began exploring the biological world of Northern California, never to stop.

However, sporadic events are not enough to support a lifetime of curiosity and discovery. That support would come via the State of California through an amazing and accessible public education system beginning at UCSD and through the National Institutes of Health, which has supported curiosity-based discovery research as an engine for improving our health and well-being. Unwavering personal support also comes from my husband, family, and mentors, who provide the personal strength and resiliency needed to overcome moments of disappointment, insecurity, and self-doubt. I thoroughly enjoy my life as a scientist and continue to be addicted to the rare experimental successes sprinkled among the many failures inherent in the scientific process.

In partnership with San Francisco State University, I also direct the UCSF IRACDA Scholars Program with Dr. Ray Esquerra (SFSU and Ms. Anne Sufka (Coordinator) to broaden opportunities in our nation's biomedical workforce and faculty. Our efforts, along with generous funding from NIGMS and the UCSF School of Medicine, provide career development programming for a cohort of postdoctoral fellows.


Current research projects in the Ingraham lab:

  • Mapping hormone-modulated neural circuits.
  • How does lactation regulate a brain-bone factor in Kiss1 neurons.
  • Identify target receptor for novel anabolic bone factor.
  • Define estrogen-responsive cells in the gut epithelium.
  • How does estrogen promotes visceral sensitivity in the female gut. 



1981-1983   Muscular Dystrophy Fellowship,

1982-1983   J. Aaron Charitable Foundation Fellow

1983-1984   W.M. Keck Foundation Fellow

1991-1992   Genentech Human Growth Foundation Award

1997-2002   NIH-Research Career Development Award

2000   First Named Lectureship for Women in Society of Andrology

2001   Williams Lectureship for Pediatric Research

2002   Brook Byers Basic Science Faculty Award

2002   Sandler Opportunity Award

2003   UCSF Outstanding Faculty Mentorship Award Nominee

2006  Herzstein Distinguished Investigator in Molecular Physiology

2008   American Diabetes Association Champion Gala Honoree

2009, 2011   Plenary Lectureships Endocrine Society

2011   Named NIH College of Reviewers

2012  Elected Fellow of American Assoc. for Adv. of Science (AAAS)

2017   Chancellor’s Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Leadership Award

2018   Keynote Speaker - 8th Great Lakes Nuclear Receptor Conference, MN

2018   Joseph Larner Memorial Lectureship Award in Pharmacology, U. of Virginia, VA

2019   Elsevier Keynote Speaker – Society for Behavioral Neuroscience Conference, IN

2019   42nd Steenbook Lectureship Award, U. of Wisconsin - Madison, WI

2019   Elected Member American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAA&S)

2020   Named UCSF Herzstein Endowed Professor of Molecular Physiology

2020  Inaugural International GCRLE Senior Scholar (3 chosen)

2021 Elected Member National Academy of Sciences (NAS)

2022 John and Margaret Faulkner Lectureship, University of Michigan, MI

2023 E.B. Astwood Award for Outstanding Basic Science (Endocrine Society)

2023 Women in Medicine and Science (WIMS) Lectureship, University of Arizona

2023 UCSF Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring Award

2023 Society of Endocrinology, Transatlantic Medalist and Lecture in Glasgow, Scotland