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Campus Messages

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

October 7, 2020
Honors and Awards

Dear Colleagues,

I am very pleased to share the news that Jennifer Doudna, PhD, Li Ka Shing Chancellor’s Chair in Biomedical and Health Sciences at UC Berkeley, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, senior investigator at the Gladstone Institutes, and adjunct professor of cellular and molecular pharmacology at UCSF, has been named to receive the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Doudna shares the Nobel with her long-time collaborator Emmanuelle Charpentier, PhD, Director of the Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens in Berlin.

Doudna and Charpentier received the prize for their co-development of CRISPR-Cas9, a genome targeting and editing technology that has ushered in a new era of genetics. Their work has transformed the way scientists study genes and their function and has the potential to revolutionize biomedicine.

Inspired by CRISPR’s potential for treating human disease and improving food security through more sustainable agriculture, Doudna spearheaded the creation of the Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI), a joint UC Berkeley / UCSF venture she leads as executive director.

Doudna oversees a lab at the Gladstone Institutes at Mission Bay and has been an adjunct professor at UCSF since 2016. She collaborates with physicians and scientists here and at the Gladstone to develop CRISPR-based gene therapies for diseases ranging from cancer to HIV to familial vision and movement disorders.

Read more about the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry:

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July 1, 2020
Honors and Awards

Dear UCSF Community:

The UCSF Medal, initiated in 1975, replaces the granting of honorary degrees and is our most prestigious university award, celebrating extraordinary individuals for their achievements and contributions. This year, three UCSF Medals will be awarded to remarkable leaders who have advanced diversity and innovation in their fields through mentorship.

The medalists are:

  • Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, MA, PhD—President, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC);
  • Afaf I. Meleis, PhD, DrPS, FAAN—Dean Emerita, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and Professor Emerita, UCSF; and
  • John A. Watson, PhD—Professor Emeritus, UCSF School of Medicine

I invite you to join me for an inspiring conversation with this year’s Medal recipients, touching on prominent issues of our time. Please RSVP and on Friday, July 10 starting at 12 p.m. tune in online to watch the celebration.

Sincerely,

Sam Hawgood, MBBS
Chancellor
Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Distinguished Professor

May 7, 2020
Community
Honors and Awards
People

Dear UCSF Community,

Perhaps now more than ever, it’s important for us to take the time to celebrate the extraordinary work we do at UCSF in service of our public mission. I invite you to join me on Friday, May 22, at 12 noon for the virtual 2020 Founders Day Awards Celebration.

While we can’t physically come together for our traditional luncheon, I am excited to bring this event to our entire community online, giving us an opportunity to honor 13 faculty, staff members, and learners who exemplify our UCSF PRIDE Values, and share their inspiring stories.

The event will recognize recipients of the following awards:

  • Chancellor Award for Public Service, Thomas N. Burbridge Public Service Award, and Edison T. Uno Public Service Award
  • Chancellor Award for Exceptional Management
  • Chancellor Award for Exceptional Service
  • Distinguished Nurse Award

To view the celebration, please register. The Zoom details will be emailed to you closer to the event date.

I hope you will join us for this special occasion.

Sincerely,

Sam Hawgood, MBBS
Chancellor
Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Distinguished Professor

September 5, 2019
Honors and Awards

Dear Members of the UCSF Community:

We are delighted to share the news that David Julius, PhD, has received a 2020 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. This award recognizes him for “discovering molecules, cells, and mechanisms underlying pain sensation.”

David, professor and chair of the Department of Physiology, was honored for his groundbreaking work in understanding the molecular basis of pain. Through his years at UCSF, David has spearheaded some of the major advances in the field through his identification and characterization of a unique class of nerve-cell ion channels known as TRP (“trip”) receptors.

In that work, David has used distinctive molecules from the natural world – tarantula and scorpion toxins, and the compounds that produce the heat in chili peppers and the zing of wasabi, for instance – to gain an understanding of how signals responsible for temperature and pain sensation are transmitted by neural circuits to the brain. This work has stimulated significant research among scientists who aim to better understand and treat chronic pain, placing David among the world’s most-cited scientists.

David’s work was driven from the start by the great need for effective pain medications without the side effects and addictive potential of opioid drugs. His research has led to significant interest in TRP channels as potential targets for new painkillers. As such, he personifies the importance of basic research in understanding both health and disease. More details on his work can be found at UCSF.edu....

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June 18, 2019
Honors and Awards
UCSF Health

Dear Colleagues,

We are proud to announce that UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals have again ranked among the nation’s preeminent children’s hospitals in all 10 pediatric specialties evaluated by U.S. News & World Report, which released the results of its annual Best Children’s Hospitals survey today.

Together, our two hospitals in Oakland and San Francisco ranked fifth nationwide and best in the West in neonatology, and were recognized as the best in Northern California in pediatric cancer care; cardiology & heart surgery; gastroenterology & GI surgery; and neurology & neurosurgery. We also scored highly in five other specialties surveyed: diabetes & endocrinology; nephrology; orthopedics; pulmonology; and urology. More information, including our complete rankings, is available in the press release.

We are especially excited to see significant improvement in many of this year’s standings compared to last year’s survey results. Of particular note, our 2019-2020 rankings increased in seven specialties from the prior year, with a leap of six places in neurology & neurosurgery, and more than 15 places in cardiology & heart surgery, and orthopedics.

The importance of these results is twofold. First, the rankings continue to reflect the high-quality care we provide to our patients and their families. And second, our improvement across so many fields in one year’s time indicates the marked progress BCH has made in coming together as a unified children’s health enterprise.

...

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February 27, 2019
Honors and Awards

Dear Members of the UCSF Community,

I am delighted to share the news that in 2018, for the 12th consecutive year, UCSF was awarded more funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) than any other public university in the United States, and the second most overall.

Our four schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy, along with our Graduate Division, earned a record amount totaling more than $647.8 million of these highly competitive contracts and grants, which support research into the fundamental underpinnings of life, the development of treatment strategies for the full spectrum of human diseases, and training for the next generation of researchers and clinicians. The schools of Dentistry, Medicine and Pharmacy topped the nation in federal funding in their fields, and the School of Nursing received the most of any public nursing school and the second most overall nationwide. Read more about this accomplishment.

This marks the first time that UCSF has surpassed $600 million, and it represents UCSF’s largest increase in NIH funding (9.09 percent) since 2011. Our success in competing for NIH funds reflects the high caliber of scientific discovery underway across UCSF.

NIH funding is the lifeblood of our research enterprise, enabling our faculty, staff, students, and trainees to confront problems and answer questions in the biomedical sciences, from curiosity-driven research to the application of those discoveries to patients and populations.

We remain vigilant in our...

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May 30, 2018
Administrative
Community
Honors and Awards

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce June 2018 as UCSF Alumni Month, an opportunity for our community to honor the accomplishments, dedication, and generosity of UCSF’s remarkable alumni.

This month of celebration kicks off tomorrow with UCSF Alumni Weekend and the presentation of the 2018 Campaign Alumni Awards. Twelve award recipients were selected from 125 nominations by a committee of fourteen alumni volunteers. Through the rest of June, join us on social media as we welcome our newest graduates, share alumni stories, and give thanks using #UCSFAlumniMonth.

The generations of professionals who trained here have shaped our institution, and today, UCSF is the largest employer of UCSF alumni. They also are key to a strong future for UCSF through their ongoing support and advocacy.

On behalf of the entire UCSF community, I extend my deepest gratitude to the more than 67,000 alumni who have helped form the character of the university and who share UCSF’s knowledge and values with the world.

To learn more about our outstanding alumni community, please visit the new alumni website at alumni.ucsf.edu.

Thank you for celebrating UCSF Alumni Month with us.

Sincerely,

Sam Hawgood, MBBS
Chancellor
Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Distinguished Professor

December 3, 2017
Honors and Awards

Dear Colleagues,

We are delighted to share the news that Peter Walter, PhD, professor and Howard Hughes Investigator in the School of Medicine Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, has received a 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. This award recognizes him for “elucidating the unfolded protein response, a cellular quality-control system that detects disease-causing unfolded proteins and directs cells to take corrective measures.”

The prize committee acknowledged his work towards improved understanding of how the cell ensures that proteins are properly constructed, especially when the cell’s quality control system is overwhelmed. Because of this research, we now understand that when these basic systems malfunction, serious diseases can result, including type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s. This discovery has altered the field of biochemistry and is a perfect example of the importance of basic science in understanding both health and disease.

Peter Walter previously has been honored with a Shaw Prize and a Lasker Award in 2014, as well as the Vilcek Prize in 2015. Read more about Peter Walter’s work.

Now in their sixth year, the Breakthrough Prizes were founded by Sergey Brin, Yuri and Julia Milner, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, and Anne Wojcicki, and “dedicated to advancing breakthrough research, celebrating scientists and generating excitement about the pursuit of science as a career.” Information about this year’s other prize recipients, including Kazutoshi Mori, PhD, at Kyoto University in Japan, who also is a leading researcher on the unfolded protein response and who has shared many major scientific awards with...

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August 7, 2017
Honors and Awards
UCSF Health

Dear Colleagues,

This morning, U.S. News & World Report released its annual rankings of best hospitals in the United States. I am very pleased to share the results: UCSF Medical Center is the fifth best hospital in the nation, the best hospital in California and the best hospital in the West.

Further, of the 16 specialties that U.S. News evaluates, UCSF ranks in the top 25 for 15 specialties and in the top ten for 13. The entire rankings can be viewed here.

While we acknowledge that all ranking systems are imperfect and can change from year to year, I truly believe that these scores accurately reflect the intense work that has taken place at UCSF over the past several years. That work includes an unrelenting focus on quality and safety, increasing access, investing in our people, lowering costs and improving our patients’ experience.

But more than anything else, these scores placing UCSF Medical Center among the top handful of hospitals in the United States reflect the quality of our faculty physicians. Their scientific innovation and creativity coupled with the exceptional care they provide to every patient, 24/7, drive our national and international standing.

Credit for the quality of UCSF’s faculty is shared by many, but it starts at the top, with Chancellor (and former School of Medicine Dean) Sam Hawgood and current Dean Talmadge King. They have jointly recruited and supported a stellar group of clinical and basic science department chairs, each of whom has recruited division chiefs and faculty whose impact advances these rankings directly or indirectly. Please take time to acknowledge our...

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May 22, 2017
Honors and Awards

Dear Colleagues,

We are honored and very pleased to share the news that Ron Vale, PhD, professor and vice chair of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology in the UCSF School of Medicine, has been named to receive the 2017 Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine.

Dr. Vale shares the prize with Ian R. Gibbons, PhD, FRS, visiting researcher in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Berkeley. The award recognizes the scientists’ discovery of microtubule-associated motor proteins, “the engines that drive nerve cell growth and chromosome inheritance essential to human development.”

In 2012, Dr. Vale was one of three scientists awarded the 2012 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award for his discovery in the mid-1980s of the motor protein kinesin, which transports cargo inside the cell along microtubule “tracks.” Kinesin makes it possible for the heart to beat and is also crucial to the separation of chromosomes during cell division. Drs. Vale and Gibbons have collaborated on studies of dynein, a motor protein discovered by Dr. Gibbons in the 1960s that moves along microtubules in the opposite direction to kinesin.

Their work underscores the tremendous value of basic research in advancing our knowledge of human health and disease. Read more about Drs. Vale and Gibbons’ Shaw-winning work.

The Shaw Prize, established in November 2002, honors individuals, regardless of race, nationality, gender and religious belief, who have achieved significant breakthroughs in academic and scientific research or applications and whose work has...

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