Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH became the ninth Chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) on August 3, 2009. An oncologist and renowned biotechnology leader, Desmond-Hellmann also holds the Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Distinguished Professor appointment at UCSF. In her role as Chancellor, she oversees all aspects of the university and medical center’s strategy and operations.
Prior to joining UCSF, Desmond-Hellmann spent 14 years at Genentech. From 2004-2009, she served as President, Product Development. In this role, she was responsible for Genentech’s pre- clinical and clinical development, process research and development, business development and product portfolio management. She also served as a member of Genentech’s executive committee, beginning in 1996. During her time at Genentech, several of the company’s therapeutics were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the company became the nation’s No. 1 producer of anti-cancer drug treatments.
Desmond-Hellmann is the recipient of numerous honors and awards. She was named to the Biotech Hall of Fame in 2007 and as the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association Woman of the Year for 2006. In November 2009, Forbes magazine named Desmond-Hellmann as one of the world's seven most "powerful innovators," calling her "a hero to legions of cancer patients." She was listed among Fortune magazine’s “top 50 most powerful women in business” for seven years and, in 2010, was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was elected to the Institute of Medicine. In June 2011, Princeton University awarded her an honorary Doctor of Science degree.
Desmond-Hellmann serves on a number of national boards. In 2013, she was named to the board of directors at Facebook, the Menlo Park-based social networking company. In December 2010, Desmond-Hellmann was appointed to the Board of Procter and Gamble. In January 2009, she joined the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s Economic Advisory Council for a three-year term. In July 2008, she was appointed to the California Academy of Sciences board of trustees and the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation's board of directors.
From 2005 to 2008, Desmond-Hellmann served a three-year term as a member of the American Association for Cancer Research board of directors, and from 2001 to 2009, she served on the executive committee of the board of directors of the Biotechnology Industry Organization. She served on the corporate board of Affymetrix from 2004-2009.
Desmond-Hellmann completed her clinical training at UCSF and is board-certified in internal medicine and medical oncology. She also holds a master’s degree in public health from the University of California, Berkeley. During her tenure at UCSF, she spent two years as visiting faculty at the Uganda Cancer Institute, studying HIV/AIDS and cancer. She also spent two years in private practice as a medical oncologist before returning to clinical research.
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