Dear Colleagues:

I wanted to share some exciting news with you regarding Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD, professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. After 25 years at UCSF, Liz will be leaving to become president of the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences, effective January 1, 2016.

A wonderful colleague, collaborator, mentor, and friend to many, Liz has exemplified the values of UCSF, including inquisitiveness and a spirit of collaboration—reaching out to basic researchers and clinical researchers in different disciplines across our university and beyond. A role model for many, she has fostered the training and careers of countless students and postdoctoral scholars.

Her Illustrious scientific career studying telomeres and the enzyme telomerase, recognized in her receiving the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, has been an inspiration to many.

Her new appointment is very good news for the Salk, as she will be a superb leader. We will of course miss her daily presence at UCSF, but she assures us that she will remain in touch.

Liz’s tenure with UC began in 1978 when she joined the faculty at UC Berkeley. In 1990, she came to UCSF, and from 1993 to 1999, she served as chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

Our faculty members are world renowned, and their accomplishments are a source of great pride for the UCSF community. One of our strong points is not only attracting great leaders but applauding members who leave UCSF to embark on a new chapter of their lives.

Please join me in congratulating Elizabeth Blackburn on her tremendous achievements and sending her our best wishes for continued success.

Read more about Liz’s career and the Salk Institute at


Sam Hawgood, MBBS
Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Distinguished Professor