Assistant Vice Chancellor, Public Affairs
Jennifer O’Brien is Assistant Vice Chancellor, Public Affairs. Previously, for many years, she wrote about the basic and clinical research underway at UCSF, covering the fields of cancer, neurology, the neurosciences, telomerase research and stem cell science. In her current role, she focuses in part on UCSF's endeavor to advance the field of “precision medicine” – the effort to integrate the wealth of data emerging from studies on the human genome and the molecular basis of disease with information on environmental factors and patients’ electronic medical records. The data will inform laboratory research and, ultimately, patient care, leading to ways to precisely diagnose the individual patient, based on his or her own genetics and background. It also will allow for customized therapies that are more effective, with fewer side effects. The plan grew out of a National Academy of Sciences committee report in 2011 co-chaired/co-authored by former UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH. O’Brien holds degrees from Williams College (BA, English) and Johns Hopkins University (MA, Science Writing).