In her role as Chancellor of UCSF, the leading university focused exclusively on health, Desmond-Hellmann oversees all aspects of the top-ranked professional and graduate schools, medical center and research programs. She has also overseen an in-depth review of the University’s business model, developed a comprehensive strategic plan, supported the creation of research partnerships with industry leaders such as Pfizer and Bayer, and appointed UCSF’s first Vice Chancellor of Diversity and Outreach.
She remains a world leader in shaping the future of biomedicine, co-chairing a National Academies committee that produced the report, “Toward Precision Medicine: Building a Knowledge Network for Biomedical Research and a New Taxonomy of Disease.” In May 2013, she convened top health care leaders for the “OME” Summit to discuss the opportunities and how to manage the challenges associated with Precision Medicine. The summit was the first of its kind and is widely recognized as a cornerstone in precision medicine, paving the way for the movement.
Prior to becoming Chancellor, Desmond-Hellmann spent 14 years at Genentech where she served a number of roles, ending as President, Product Development (2004 – 2009). 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. Under her leadership at Genentech, several of the company’s breakthrough 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’s passion for unlocking new knowledge and commitment to advancing science, education and clinical care has led her to receive numerous honors and awards. Among them are:
In pursuit of UCSF’s public mission, Desmond-Hellmann partners closely with leaders in healthcare academia, science and technology. In March 2013, she was appointed to the board of directors at Facebook Inc., the Menlo Park-based social networking company, and since 2010 she has served on the board of directors of the Procter & Gamble Company. She also serves on several not-for-profit boards; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Science Advisory Board, the Genentech Scientific Resource Board and as a Trustee of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Desmond-Hellmann completed her undergraduate education and medical school at the University of Nevada, Reno, followed by clinical training at UCSF where she served as associate adjunct professor of epidemiology and biostatistics. She is board-certified in internal medicine and medical oncology and holds a master’s degree in public health from the University of California, Berkeley. During her training at UCSF, she spent two years as a visiting faculty member at the Uganda Cancer Institute studying HIV/AIDS and cancer. She later worked two years in private practice as a medical oncologist before returning to clinical research.
Desmond-Hellmann is a sports enthusiast, passionate about the San Francisco Giants, San Francisco 49ers and Golden State Warriors, and loves the outdoors, whether she is running, hiking, swimming, or cycling and skiing with her husband, Dr. Nick Hellmann.
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