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University of California, San Francisco
Motto Fiat lux (Latin)
Motto in English Let there be light
Established 1873
Type Public
Endowment UCSF Foundation US $468.5 million[1]
UC Regents $850.3 million[2]
Chancellor Susan D. Desmond-Hellmann
Faculty 1,686
Postgraduates 2,998 (Fall 2008)[3]
Location San Francisco, California, United States
Campus Urban, 135 acres (0.6 km²), plus 43 acres (170,000 m2) at Mission Bay campus
Colors UCSF Teal     
Affiliations University of California
UCSF logo.png

The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is one of the world's leading centers of health sciences research, patient care, and education. UCSF's medical, pharmacy, dental, nursing, and graduate schools are among the top health science professional schools in the world. The UCSF Medical Center is consistently ranked among the top 10 hospitals in the United States by U.S. News & World Report[4]. Some of UCSF's most renowned treatment centers include kidney and liver transplant, neurosurgery, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, gene therapy, women's health, fetal surgery, pediatrics, and internal medicine. UCSF also has the nation's leading HIV/AIDS treatment and research centers. Collaborations with African Universities such as the University of Zimbabwe to deal with HIV have been established. UCSF is administered separately from University of California, Hastings College of the Law, another institution of the University of California which is also located in San Francisco. However, UCSF and UC Hastings have increased their collaboration in recent years, including the formation of the UCSF/Hastings Consortium on Law, Science, and Health Policy.[5]

UCSF Medical Center and Sutro Tower

Founded in 1873, the mission of UCSF is to serve as a "public university dedicated to saving lives and improving health." Though one of the ten campuses of the University of California, it is unique for being the only University of California campus dedicated solely to graduate education, and this in health and biomedical sciences. UCSF has developed a reputation for unique interdisciplinary collaboration between the health science disciplines which has led to some of the most important discoveries in the biosciences. The graduate-focused environment of UCSF, its relatively small size, and its culture of collaboration allows for a flexibility to translate new discoveries into new treatments hard to find even at many of the world's other top medical centers.



UCSF in 1908, with the streetcar that used to run on Parnassus Avenue

UCSF traces its history to Dr. Hugh H. Toland, a South Carolina surgeon who found great success and wealth after moving to San Francisco in 1852.[6] A previous school, the Cooper Medical College of the University of Pacific (founded 1858), entered a period of uncertainty in 1862 when its founder, Dr. Elias Samuel Cooper, died.[7] In 1864, Toland founded a new medical school, Toland Medical College, and the faculty of Cooper Medical College chose to suspend operations and join the new school.[7]

The University of California was founded in 1868, and by 1870 Toland Medical School began negotiating an affiliation with the new public university.[8] Meanwhile, some faculty of Toland Medical School elected to reopen the Medical Department of the University of the Pacific, which would later become Stanford University School of Medicine.[9] Negotiations between the Toland and the UC were complicated by Toland's demand that the medical school continue to bear his name, which he finally conceded.[8] In March 1873, the trustees of Toland Medical College deeded it to the Regents of the University of California, and it became "The Medical Department of the University of California."[8] On September 15, 1874, the school opened its doors to female students.


Saunders Court, Parnassus campus

UCSF operates four major campus sites within the city of San Francisco and one in Fresno, as well as numerous other minor sites scattered through San Francisco and the Bay Area.



Parnassus serves as the main campus and includes numerous research labs, the 600 bed UCSF Medical Center, Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute, and UCSF Children's Hospital. The Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy and the Biomedical Sciences graduate program are also located at Parnassus. It also houses the UCSF neurology outpatient practice that serves as a referral center of most of Northern California and Reno, Nevada.

UCSF's Beckman Vision Center is also located at the Parnassus campus. It is a center for the diagnosis, treatment and research of all areas of eye care, including vision correction surgery.

Also located on the Parnassus campus is the UCSF Fetal Treatment Center, multidisciplinary care center dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment, and long-term follow-up of fetal birth defects.

Mission Bay

Mission Bay, UCSF
Mission Bay Community Center

UCSF's Mission Bay Campus is the largest ongoing biomedical construction project in the world.[10] The 43-acre (170,000 m2) Mission Bay campus, opened in 2003 with construction still ongoing, contains additional research space and facilities to foster biotechnology and life sciences companies. It will double the size of UCSF's research enterprise over the next 10 years. The biotechnology company Genentech contributed $50 million toward construction of a building as part of a settlement regarding alleged theft of UCSF technology several decades earlier.[citation needed] Also located on the Mission Bay campus, the Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Hall was designed by César Pelli and opened in February 2004. The building is named in honor of Arthur Rock and his wife, who made a $25 million gift to the university.[11] Byers Hall serves as the headquarters for the California Institute for Biomedical Research (QB3), a cooperative effort between the UC campuses at San Francisco, Berkeley, and Santa Cruz. The building is named after venture capitalist Brook Byers, co-chair of UCSF's capital campaign that concluded in 2005 and raised over $1.6 billion.[12] Additionally, the William J. Rutter Center, designed along with the adjacent 600-space parking structure by Ricardo Legorreta, opened in October 2005 and contains a fitness and recreation center, swimming pools, student services, and conference facilities. The building is named in honor of William J. Rutter, former chairman of the university's Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics and co-founder of Chiron Corporation.[13] A housing complex for 750 students and postdoctoral fellows and an 800-space parking garage also opened in late 2005. And a fourth research building, designed by Rafael Viñoly and named the Helen Diller Family Cancer Research Building, opened in June 2009. Two additional research buildings designated for neuroscience and cardiovascular research are currently in the planning and design phase.[14] UCSF is also in the early stages of planning for a new specialty hospital focused on women, children, and cancer to be built at the Mission Bay campus and scheduled to open by the end of 2014.[15]


The Mount Zion campus contains UCSF's NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, its Women's Health Center, the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine and outpatient resources. The San Francisco General Hospital campus cares for the indigent population of San Francisco and contains San Francisco's only Level I trauma center.[citation needed] The hospital itself is owned and operated by the city of San Francisco, but many of its doctors carry UCSF affiliation and maintain research laboratories at the hospital campus. The earliest cases of HIV/AIDS were discovered at SF General Hospital in the 1980s.[citation needed] To this day SF General Hospital has the world's leading HIV/AIDS treatment and research center.[citation needed]

UCSF is also affiliated with the San Francisco VA Hospital and the J. David Gladstone Institutes, a private biomedical research entity that has recently moved to a new building adjacent to UCSF's Mission Bay campus. The headquarters of the new California Institute for Regenerative Medicine are also located nearby in the Mission Bay neighborhood.


Hippocrates statue, Parnassus Ave. in front of the Robert H. Crede Ambulatory Care Center

University of California, San Francisco is unique in that it performs only biomedical and patient-centered research in its Schools of Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing, and Dentistry, and the Graduate Division, and their hundreds of associated laboratories. The university is known for innovation in medical research, public service, and patient care. UCSF's faculty includes four Nobel Prize winners, 31 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 69 members of the Institute of Medicine, and 30 members of the Academy of Arts and Sciences. UCSF confers a number of degrees, including Master of Science, Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Pharmacy, Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Dental Surgery, and Doctor of Physical Therapy in a variety of fields.


In 1995, the National Research Council ranked UCSF among the top ten schools in the U.S. in the subjects of biochemistry and molecular biology (1st), genetics (2nd), cell and developmental biology (3rd), neurosciences (4th), physiology (5th), and biomedical engineering (7th).

Overall, the campus ranked third in the nation in annual NIH funding with $439 million in 2007.[16]

The Academic Ranking of World Universities, published annually by Shanghai Jiaotong University, in 2008 ranks UCSF 3rd in the world for Life and Agricultural Sciences and 2nd in the world for Clinical Medicine and Pharmacy[17]. The professional schools of the University of California, San Francisco are among the top in the nation, according to current (2006) US News and World Report graduate school and other rankings. The schools also rank at or near the top in research funding from the National Institutes of Health. In addition, the UCSF Medical Center in 2007 was ranked by US News and World Report the 7th-best hospital in the nation[18], making it the highest-ranked medical center in northern California.

School of Medicine

In 2009, it ranked fifth overall among research-based medical schools by US News and World Report; the top in western United States. In rankings of medical schools for primary care, UCSF ranked 5th. It is one of only two medical schools that ranked top 10 in both research and primary care categories. In addition, the magazine ranked UCSF in the top 10 in seven of the eight medical school specialty programs assessed, including first in AIDS medical care, second in women's health, and third in internal medicine. The UCSF drug and alcohol abuse specialty ranks fifth nationally in the 2009 survey, while family medicine ranks sixth, pediatrics tenth, and geriatrics ninth.[19]

In 2007, the School of Medicine was the third largest recipient of National Institutes of Health research funds among all US medical schools, receiving awards totaling $373.1 million.[16]. In 2008, the School of Medicine was the second largest recipient of National Institutes of Health research funds among all US medical schools, receiving awards totaling $394.9 million.[20]

Biological Sciences, PhD Programs

US News and World Report in 2008 ranked UCSF seventh best overall. In that survey, UCSF ranked third in immunology, fourth in biochemistry/biophysics/structural biology, cell biology, and molecular biology, sixth in genetics/genomics/bioinformatics and neuroscience, and seventh in microbiology.[21]

School of Nursing

In 2008, US News and World Report ranked the UCSF graduate programs in nursing as second in the nation. UCSF ranked in the top 10 in all seven of the rated nursing specialties, including first for training adult/medical-surgical nurses and second for its adult nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, and psychiatric/mental health programs. The pediatric nurse practitioner specialty ranked fifth nationally, while the gerontology/geriatrics and nursing service administration programs ranked seventh.[22]

The School of Nursing in 2007 ranked first nationally in total NIH research funds with $13.8 million.[16]

School of Pharmacy

The UCSF School of Pharmacy ranked as the top in the US, according to a 2002 survey published in The Annals of Pharmacotherapy, which weighed key criteria, including funding for research and the frequency of scientific publications by faculty, that are not considered in other rankings.

In 2008, US News and World Report ranked the UCSF School of Pharmacy number one in its "America's Best Graduate Schools" edition.[23]

In 2007, the School of Pharmacy ranked first in NIH research funding among all US pharmacy schools, receiving awards totaling $19.6 million.[16]

School of Dentistry

The School of Dentistry in 2007 ranked first among all dental schools in NIH research funding. It received awards totaling $18.3 million from the NIH.[16]

UCSF Medical Center

In 2007, US News and World Report named the UCSF Medical Center the 7th-best hospital in the nation, making it the highest-ranked medical center in Northern California. Among pediatric care centers, UCSF Children's Hospital ranked no. 16 — among the highest-rated children's medical service in California.

In the magazine's "America's Best Hospitals" survey, the UCSF Medical Center ranked best in Northern California — as well as among the best in the nation — in the following specialties: endocrinology, neurology/neurosurgery; gynecology; cancer; kidney disease; ophthalmology; respiratory disorders; rheumatology; urology; digestive disorders; ear, nose, and throat; psychiatry; heart and heart surgery; and pediatrics.[24]

In San Francisco Magazine's 2003 survey of the "Best Doctors" in the Bay Area, 55 percent of those honored were UCSF faculty.


  • First to discover that normal cellular genes can be converted to cancer genes (Nobel Prize in Medicine, J. Michael Bishop and Harold Varmus, 1989)
  • First to discover (together with Stanford) the techniques of recombinant DNA, the seminal step in the creation of the biotechnology industry
  • First to discover the precise recombinant DNA techniques that led to the creation of a hepatitis B vaccine
  • First to perform a successful in-utero fetal surgery (Michael R. Harrison)
  • First to clone an insulin gene into bacteria, leading to the mass production of recombinant human insulin to treat diabetes
  • First to synthesize human growth hormone and clone into bacteria, setting the stage for genetically engineered human growth hormone
  • First to develop prenatal tests for sickle cell anemia and thalassemia
  • First to train pharmacists as drug therapy specialists
  • First to establish special care units for AIDS patients and among the first to identify HIV as the causative agent of the disease
  • First to discover prions, a unique type of infectious agent responsible for a variety of neurodegenerative diseases (Nobel Prize in Medicine, Stanley B. Prusiner, 1997)
  • First to develop catheter ablation therapy for tachycardia, which cures "racing" hearts without surgery
  • First university west of the Mississippi to offer a doctoral degree in nursing
  • First to discover that missing pulmonary surfactants are the culprit in the death of newborns with respiratory distress syndrome; first to develop a synthetic substitute for it, reducing infant death rates significantly
  • With a work force of 18,600 people and annual economic impact of $2 billion, UCSF is San Francisco's second largest employer
  • UCSF has its own fully functional police department, which carries out policing duties for its two major campuses as well as all satellite sites within the city and in South San Francisco.

Noted alumni/faculty


  1. ^ "All Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2008 Market Value of Endowment Assets with Percent Change Between 2007 and 2008 Endowment Assets" (PDF). 2008 NACUBO Endowment Study. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  2. ^ "ANNUAL ENDOWMENT REPORT UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA" (PDF). Annual Endowment. University of California. Retrieved May 18, 2009. *The endowment of the University of California, San Francisco Foundation is $468.5 million. In addition, funds owned by the University of California system but designated for UCSF total $850.3 million. This figure includes non-endowment funds such as life income accounts. The total of these endowment and non-endowment funds is $1.3 billion.
  3. ^ The University of California: Statistical Summary of Students and Staff
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Hugh Huger Toland (1806-1880), UCSF, Accessed June 11, 2007.
  7. ^ a b A History of UCSF's School of Medicine: San Francisco's First Medical Schools, UCSF, Accessed June 11, 2007.
  8. ^ a b c A History of UCSF's School of Medicine: University Affiliation, UCSF, Accessed June 11, 2007.
  9. ^ Chronology of the Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford School of Medicine, Accessed June 11, 2007.
  10. ^ New UCSF Mission Bay campus: country's largest biomedical university expansion
  11. ^ $25 Million Gift Creates Professorship for UCSF Chancellor, Furthers Construction of Mission Bay Campus
  12. ^ QB3's Inaugural Event Features Announcement of Major Partnerships with Industry
  13. ^ Tansey, Bernadette (November 29, 2007). "UCSF to name building after biotech pioneer Bill Rutter". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-11-29. 
  14. ^ Rauber, Chris (October 12, 2007). "Invention, born of necessity". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  15. ^ UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay
  16. ^ a b c d e UCSF among top universities in NIH funding
  17. ^ Academic Ranking of World Universities by Broad Subject Fields - 2008
  18. ^ "America's Best Hospitals 2007". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 2007-10-16. 
  19. ^ US News medical school rankings
  20. ^ [1]
  21. ^ US News rankings - The Sciences
  22. ^ US News nursing school rankings
  23. ^ US News pharmacy rankings
  24. ^ US News and World Report rankings of best hospitals
  25. ^ Andy Baldwin Biography
  26. ^ "Dr. Michael M. Merzenich". Scientific Learning Corporation.. 1997-2009. Retrieved 2009-01-02. 

External links

Coordinates: 37°45′47.95″N 122°27′30.74″W / 37.7633194°N 122.4585389°W / 37.7633194; -122.4585389


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