Dr. Theodore G. Wensel has been named chair of the Verna and Marrs McLean Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Wensel, who is professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, neuroscience, ophthalmology and pharmacology, has been interim chair of the department since April of 2011.

Wensel’s laboratory studies the molecular mechanisms of G protein-mediated signal transduction in neurons with emphasis on phototransduction in the vertebrate retina and on slow neurotransmission in the brain. Understanding these processes at the molecular and atomic levels helps to develop new approaches to understanding and treating human disease. He has published extensively on this and related topics.

He was the recipient the Barbara and Corbin J. Robertson Jr. Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2005 and was appointed the Robert A. Welch Chair in Chemistry in 2003.

Wensel has been a member of the BCM faculty for 24 years. He joined BCM after completing his postdoctoral work at Stanford University in 1988. He received his Ph.D. in chemistry in 1984 from the University of California, Davis.

He is also a fellow of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology and serves as director of the Houston Area Molecular Biophysics Program.