Wilfred F. Denetclaw

Keynote Speaker

Wilfred F. Denetclaw, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology at San Francisco State University was born and raised on the Navajo Nation in Shiprock, New Mexico. In accordance with traditional Navajo introductions, Dr. Denetclaw is Many Hogans clan, born for the Salt clan and from the Ta’neeszahnii clan (maternal grandfather) and the Tł’ááshchí’í clan (paternal grandfather). He began college at Navajo Community College (now Diné College) and completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in 1983 from Fort Lewis College (Durango, CO). Afterwards, he did doctoral graduate work at the University of California, at Berkeley and was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology in 1991. Dr. Denetclaw did post-graduate research for several years with Athena Biotechnology, and in 1994, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco in the Cardiovascular Research Institute. He then worked as a staff scientist in the Department of Anatomy. In 2000, Dr. Denetclaw took a tenure-track Assistant Professorship at San Francisco State University, and in 2006, he was tenured and promoted to Associate Professor. Dr. Denetclaw teaches upper division and graduate courses in cell and molecular biology and has an active research laboratory with undergraduates and Master of Science graduate students. His research investigates messenger molecules in the regulation of vertebrate embryo myogenesis. Dr. Denetclaw has served on many university committees, recently in the SFSU Academic Master Plan and in the Academic Senate. He has served in numerous capacities in departmental committees and is faculty director of the Microscopy and Imaging Core Facility. External activities include service in the American Society for Cell Biology Minorities Affairs Committee (9 years) and in the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans (SACNAS) as a past Board Member (1996-98) and as a member of the Council of Senior Advisors (COSA) in SACNAS. Dr. Denetclaw was honored with the 2009 SACNAS Presidential Service Award and the 2004 with the Crossing Borders Award. Dr. Denetclaw has also been profiled in several television documentaries including the 1996 PBS Anthology Series “BreakThrough” profiling 20 American Minority Scientists and in the HHMI documentary “Not So Wild A Dream.” Dr. Denetclaw has been funded by grant awards from the NIH and NSF and his research is currently supported by the UCSF-NSF STC Grant for the Center for Cellular Construction.