UCSF names new Chair of Department of Laboratory Medicine

By Jennifer O'Brien

Clifford A. Lowell, MD, PhD -----

Clifford A. Lowell, MD, PhD, has been named the new chair of the UCSF Department of Laboratory Medicine. He will assume his post November 1.

Lowell, whose research focuses on the role of autoimmunity in inflammatory diseases,  currently directs the Clinical Immunology Laboratory in the UCSF School of Medicine. The lab carries out assessments on immunological substances in body fluids, particularly serum.

In his new post, Lowell will oversee the department’s clinical services, its research efforts and the Clinical Pathology Residency Program. He also will lead the creation of a broad-based Institute for Molecular Diagnostics, a campus-wide effort that will encompass investigators with interest in translating cutting-edge research and technologies into viable diagnostic methods for neoplastic, infectious, hematologic and autoimmune diseases.

The Department of Laboratory Medicine oversees the Clinical Laboratories at UCSF’s four affiliated hospitals—UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center, UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion and the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center - providing diagnostic laboratory services in hematology, immunology, microbiology, transfusion medicine, molecular diagnostics, toxicology and chemistry.

Scientists in the department carry out research on blood development, sexually-transmitted diseases, cell analysis, immunology/AIDS, neurovirology, renovascular hypertension, molecular diagnostics, and molecular cytogenetics.

Lowell’s own research focuses on understanding the complex interactions of the immune system in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Alterations in these interactions underlie the basic mechanisms in development of malignant blood-based diseases such as leukemia and lymphoma, which is a second area of research in the Lowell group.

At UCSF, Lowell is a member of the Program in Immunology, the Biomedical Sciences Program (BMS) and the Program in Biological Sciences (PIBS). He is also a member of the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center, where he is active in the hematopoietic malignancies group and has served as the associate director of the UCSF Medical Scientist Training Program.

Lowell came to UCSF in 1989 as a post-doctoral research fellow in the lab of Harold Varmus, MD, who shared the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Lowell joined the UCSF faculty in 1995, founding his own lab. He earned his MD and PhD degrees at Johns Hopkins University in 1986, where he also completed his residency and internship in internal medicine. He received a BS with honors in biology from Stanford in 1979.

Lowell is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including a Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Scholar Award, a Stewart Family Trust Scholar Award, and a Howard Hughes Physician Scientist Training Fellowship.

Lowell was born in Tacoma, WA in 1958.

As professor and chair of the Department of Laboratory Medicine, Lowell’s annual salary will be $250,000. Funds to support this position come from a combination of sources that includes research grants, state funds allocated to the department, and allocations from UCSF Medical Center.

UCSF is a leading university that advances health worldwide by conducting advanced biomedical research, educating graduate students in the life sciences and health professions, and providing complex patient care.

NOTE: Additional information on compensation for Dr. Lowell is available upon request from the UCSF News Office (415-476-2557).