UCSF School of Medicine

By Jennifer O'Brien

· Ranks 6th overall among 125 U.S. medical schools.

· Ranks 4th in research dollars awarded by the National Institutes of Health.

· Ranks 1st for active patents in the University of California system.

· Faculty honors: 30 members of the National Academy of Sciences; 44 members of the Institute of Medicine; 33 members of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences; and 16 who are Howard Hughes Medical Investigators.

· UCSF School of Medicine is an integral part of University of California, San Francisco, the only campus in the 10-campus UC system devoted exclusively to the health sciences. The UCSF academic enterprise is composed of schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy, as well as a graduate division.

UCSF School of Medicine has a distinguished history of groundbreaking medical and scientific discoveries and accomplishments, including:

· Using microarray technology refined in a UCSF research lab, provided key supporting evidence that the new, unknown virus responsible for SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) was a coronavirus-helping to set the foundation for treatment and containment of the disease. (2003)

· The co-discovery of recombinant DNA techniques (1974), spawning a revolution in biology, the birth of biotechnology, which has led to the development of medically useful drug therapies.

· The development of the genetically engineered hepatitis B vaccine. (1985)

· First to identify the cause of infant respiratory distress syndrome (1969) and later development of the revolutionary artificial lung surfactant Exosurf (patented in 1980), which reduced related infant mortality by half in just two years.

· First successful corrective procedure on a baby still in the mother’s womb (1981), pioneering the specialty of fetal diagnosis and treatment and establishing UCSF internationally as the unparalleled leader in this field.
· The discovery that normal genes, when mutated, can cause cancer, transforming the way scientists think about the disease and leading to new strategies for detection and treatment (1989 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine)

· The discovery of the infectious protein, known as prion, that causes rare neurodegenerative diseases in humans and animals, including bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or “mad cow” disease. (1997 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine)

· The co-discovery of telomerase, an enzyme that plays a key role in regulating the life span of the cell and which is now the focus of study as a target for treating cancer and age-related and degenerative disorders ranging from skin wrinkles to blindness to cardiovascular disease. (1985)

· The discovery of genes in the round worm Caenorhabditis elegans that play a key role in regulating the animal’s aging process. Studies of these genes and the molecular pathways through which they act have since been shown to affect longevity in fruit flies and mice and are likely to control life-span in humans. (1993)

· Co-discovery of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), the virus that causes AIDS. (1983)

· First isolation of precursor cells from mice embryos, a seminal advance laying the groundwork for current worldwide research on the use of human embryonic stem cells to treat disease. (1981)

· Gene for human growth hormone cloned, setting the stage for genetically engineered human growth hormone. (1979)

· Gene for insulin isolated, leading to the mass production of recombinant insulin to treat diabetes. (1977)