UC President Recommends Candidate for Chancellor of UCSF

May 01, 2009
News Office: UC Office of the President (510) 987-9200

University of California President Mark G. Yudof will bring the name of the first woman candidate to serve as chancellor of UCSF to next week's meeting of the UC Board of Regents, the university announced. The appointment is subject to the approval of the Board of Regents and, if approved, would take effect August 3.

Yudof will recommend Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann — a distinguished leader in cancer research, and biotechnology industry executive who most recently served as president of product development for Genentech — to become chancellor of UCSF, one of the world's pre-eminent centers of health science teaching, research and patient care. Desmond-Hellmann would replace Dr. J. Michael Bishop who is stepping down after 10 years as UCSF chancellor.

Desmond-Hellmann, 51, brings a deep clinical, research, and executive leadership background and commitment to high-quality patient care to the position of UCSF chancellor. She is a board-certified physician in internal medicine and medical oncology who has dedicated much of her career to cancer research. She has been with South San Francisco-based Genentech for 14 years — as clinical scientist, chief medical officer, executive vice president and president — where she has overseen successful trials for therapeutic drugs, including Herceptin, Avastin and Rituxan, targeting a range of cancers and other diseases.

Prior to joining Genentech, Desmond-Hellmann was associate director of clinical cancer research at Bristol-Myers Squibb, worked in private medical practice, and co-led AIDS and cancer research projects in the African nation of Uganda. She completed her clinical training at UCSF after receiving a medical degree from the University of Nevada, Reno; she also holds a master's degree in public health from UC Berkeley. She has served at UCSF as an assistant professor in hematology-oncology and currently is an adjunct associate professor at the campus.

Desmond-Hellmann is a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco's Economic Advisory Council and has been named multiple times to Fortune Magazine's "Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Business" list.

"I began my career at UCSF, and my heart has never left it," Desmond-Hellmann said. "I am delighted and humbled to have the Regents' consideration for the position of chancellor at this truly great institution. My life's work has been focused on making a difference for patients, and I cannot think of a better place than UCSF to carry that work forward. As the health needs of the world continue to change, UCSF will continue to play a pivotal role in developing solutions through its research, teaching and clinical care across all the health disciplines."

Biographical information for Desmond-Hellmann is available at http://news.ucsf.edu/.

UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. For further information, visit www.ucsf.edu.