Campus Messages

An archive of email messages sent to the entire UCSF community by the Chancellor and members of the Chancellor's Cabinet.

Director, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Dear Colleagues,

I am extremely pleased to announce that Alan Ashworth, PhD, FRS, an acclaimed cancer scientist, will become the new director for the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. His appointment will officially begin January 1, 2015.

Dr. Ashworth currently is professor of molecular biology, leader of the Gene Function Team in the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre and chief executive officer of the Institute of Cancer Research in London. Together with its partner hospital, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, the ICR is one of the top cancer centers globally.

Dr. Ashworth is renowned for his research on genes that determine cancer risk, especially for his key role in the discovery of BRCA2 in 1995. His is also known for his innovative approaches to exploiting genetic weaknesses in cancer cells as a way to generate new therapies and for his passion for the development of precision cancer medicine, translating laboratory studies into improvements in patient care.

Dr. Ashworth is an elected member of EMBO and the Academy of Medical Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society. He is the recipient of a number of scientific prizes and awards including The European Society of Medical Oncology Lifetime Achievement Award, the David T. Workman Memorial Award of the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation and the Meyenburg Foundation’s Cancer Research Award.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the search committee who so ably assisted me in Dr. Ashworth’s recruitment.

Dr. Ashworth will succeed Dr. Frank McCormick as director of the Cancer Center at USCF. Dr. McCormick joined UCSF in 1997, launched our cancer center and led it to become the first Comprehensive Cancer Center in Northern California and one of the foremost cancer centers in the nation. His leadership for the last 14 years has been exceptional. He will remain as a faculty member in the Cancer Center while leading the National Cancer Institute’s new multi center RAS project.

To help transition to Dr. Ashworth’s leadership, Dr. Peter Carroll has agreed to serve as interim director effective April 1, 2014. Dr. Eric Small will assume Dr. McCormick’s role as principal investigator of the NCI core grant.

Please join me in thanking Dr. McCormick for his outstanding leadership and welcoming Dr. Ashworth to the UCSF community. I hope many of you will have the opportunity to get to meet him on one of his upcoming visits to the campus in preparation for his move at the end of the year.


Sam Hawgood, MBBS
Dean, School of Medicine
Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs