Four UCSF faculty scientists elected to Institute of Medicine

By Wallace Ravven

Four scientific leaders at the University of California, San Francisco—a
pioneer in molecular studies related to cancer and aging, an international
leader in HIV prevention research and policy issues, an expert on oral
manifestations of AIDS, and a distinguished advocate for improving pharmacy
education and practice—have been elected to the prestigious Institute of

Elizabeth H. Blackburn, PhD, professor of biochemistry and biophysics, Thomas
C. Coates, PhD, professor of medicine and epidemiology and director of the UCSF
AIDS Research Institute, Deborah Greenspan, DSc, professor of clinical and oral
medicine in the School of Dentistry’s stomatology department, and Mary Anne
Koda-Kimble, PharmD, dean of the School of Pharmacy and professor of clinical
pharmacy, received the high honor among sixty new members elected this year.

Election to the Institute of Medicine recognizes major contributions to health,
medicine or related fields such as social and behavioral sciences, law and
economics.  The election brings to 42 the number of UCSF members in the

Blackburn is a world leader in studies of telomeres, segments of DNA that bind
both ends of chromosomes and affect the life span of cells and the development
of some cancers. In 1985 she and her then PhD student at UC Berkeley, Carol
Greider, discovered a novel enzyme, telomerase, which creates telomeres. Since
telomeres help determine the number of times a cell divides, Blackburn’s
discovery has spawned a whole field of inquiry into the possibility that the
telomerase enzyme could be manipulated to regulate telomeres for therapeutic

A native of Tasmania, Australia, Blackburn was elected to the National Academy
of Sciences in 1993, one of the highest honors that can awarded to a scientist
in the United States. She is past president of the American Society of Cell

Coates is an expert in disease-related behavior, with an emphasis on
interventions to modify behaviors. He is an authority on the effects of
antibody testing on high-risk behavior and on AIDS-related immune dysfunction.
His current research involves studies to reduce high-risk behaviors in several
populations, including African-Americans, Asians, young gay men, teens and
heterosexual adults.

As head of UCSF’s AIDS Research Institute (ARI), he directs an enterprise that
encompasses all UCSF AIDS programs under a single umbrella, including close to
1,000 investigators. The UCSF ARI is dedicated to developing significant
advances in HIV clinical care, prevention and health services, policy, immune
reconstitution, and vaccine development.

Coates is a special advisor in Family Health International’s AIDS Prevention
Projects, sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development on AIDS
(USAID), and has chaired WHO’s Global Programme on AIDS Steering Committee,
Social and Behavioral Studies Unit.

Greenspan’s research spans laboratory, clinical and epidemiological studies
relating to the oral manifestations of AIDS, the oral effects of cancer
therapies, and the development of new therapeutic approaches for major oral
diseases. She directs a group of investigators identifying oral HIV lesions and
providing treatment to people with these lesions—part of a major
epidemiological study of oral lesions of HIV infection.

Her other on-going research includes studies of the prevalence, incidence and
predictors of oral lesions in women with HIV infections and the changing
patterns of oral disease in the era of highly active anti-retroviral therapy in
different HIV-positive populations.

Dean of UCSF’s School of Pharmacy since 1998, Koda-Kimble has served on the
faculty since 1970 where she has been honored repeatedly for her teaching
skills, and has been a leading force in developing an innovative clinical
pharmacy curriculum. She is past president of the American Association of
Colleges of Pharmacy and is a member of the American Council on Pharmaceutical
Education, a body that accredits schools of pharmacy and continuing education
programs for pharmacists.

An expert both on pharmacy education and practice, Koda-Kimble has served on
the California State Board of Pharmacy, the American Pharmaceutical Association
Task Force on Education and is currently a member of the FDA’s Nonprescription
Drugs Advisory Committee which advises the FDA on whether prescription
medicines should be made available for sale over the counter. She is the author
of many publications, the best known of which is Applied Therapeutics, a text
used in schools of pharmacy worldwide.

With their election to the Institute of Medicine, members make a commitment to
devote a significant amount of time as volunteers on committees engaged in a
broad range of studies on health policy issues. Current IOM projects include
the development of new technologies for the early detection of breast cancer,
studies on the creation of a medical system to support long-duration space
travel beyond Earth orbit and the safety and efficacy of the anthrax vaccine
used by the U.S. military.