Walter is currently a Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UCSF and an HHMI Investigator. He graduated from the Free University of Berlin in 1976, and received his MS in Organic Chemistry from Vanderbilt University in 1977. In 1981 he obtained his PhD in Biochemistry at The Rockefeller University. In 1983, Walter joined the faculty of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California at San Francisco, and served as Department Chair from 2001 until 2008. He was the 2016 President of the American Society of Cell Biology. His research program concerns the importance of protein quality control pathways in the cell and how they relate to human diseases. Work from his lab has been nationally and internationally recognized. His awards include the Eli Lilly Award, the Passano Award, the Wiley Prize, the Stein & Moore Award, the Gairdner Award, the E.B. Wilson Medal, the Otto Warburg Medal, the Jung Prize, the 2012 Ehrlich and Darmstaedter Prize, the 2014 Shaw Prize, the 2014 Lasker Award and the 2015 Vilcek Prize.