UCSF appoints Bluestone as executive vice chancellor and provost

By Kristen Bole

Jeffrey A. Bluestone, PhD

The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) has appointed a preeminent scientist and proven campus leader to serve as its chief academic officer, overseeing all academic and research enterprises of the life sciences university. The appointment of Jeffrey A. Bluestone, PhD, as UCSF executive vice chancellor and provost was officially approved today by the UC Board of Regents.

In his new role, Bluestone will guide the research and academic enterprise at UCSF, working in close collaboration with the chancellor and the leadership team to advance the campus priorities, and overseeing the campus ethics and compliance enterprise.

The appointment is effective immediately, according to UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, who noted that Bluestone had served in an interim role as the UCSF vice chancellor-research since July 2008.

“Dr. Bluestone has a clear track record of success, both as one of the world’s leading experts on diabetes and immune tolerance, and in leadership of our research enterprise,” Desmond-Hellmann said. “His innovative and collaborative approaches to research, and his commitment to creativity in how we conduct business in the future, will serve this university well as we move forward in translating laboratory science into practices and products that serve patients worldwide.”

Bluestone is the fourth executive to be tapped for the UCSF leadership team by Desmond-Hellmann, who became chancellor in August 2009.  Since then, she has named Sam Hawgood, MBBS, dean of the medical school; Carol Moss, vice chancellor for development and alumni relations; John Plotts, chief business officer, and Elazar Harel, chief information officer. Harel’s appointment to the new position of vice chancellor of information technology also was approved by the Regents today.

Bluestone, who holds the A.W. and Mary Margaret Clausen Distinguished Professorship in Metabolism and Endocrinology, is an international leader in the field of immunotherapy, with a stellar record of scholarly achievement and a decade of significant contributions to the research enterprise at UCSF, Desmond-Hellmann said.

Bluestone has served the UCSF community in several capacities since joining the faculty in 2000. Among his contributions was the creation and directorship of an integrated UCSF Diabetes Center to focus on translating basic research in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes into improved therapies for patients. He also founded and directed the Immune Tolerance Network, a consortium of more than 1,000 of the world’s leading scientific researchers and clinical specialists from nearly 50 institutions, with a mission to test new therapies to promote immune tolerance in transplantation, autoimmune diseases, asthma and allergic diseases.

As interim vice chancellor for research, Bluestone directed the advancement of cross-campus research initiatives, such as enhancing core research facilities. In this capacity, he has played a leading role in coordinating and integrating current research cores. He has also worked to strengthen external research partnerships, particularly with industry, and has focused on facilitating the translation of UCSF discoveries into public benefit.

“I like to paint on a big canvas and see if I can make a difference,” Bluestone said. “This is a tremendous institution – one of the best in the world—and if ever there are new ways to advance health, this is the place to do it.”

As a scientist, Bluestone’s research has helped clarify the body’s immune response on a molecular level. His research has catalyzed recent progress in stem cell research, islet cell transplantation and immune tolerance therapies – research that has translated into drugs to treat human disease.

Through his 30-year scientific career, Bluestone has authored more than 300 peer-reviewed publications, including prominent papers in Nature, Nature Immunology, the Journal of Immunology and Diabetes. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including his election in 2006 to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Mary Tyler Moore & Robert Levine Excellence in Clinical Research Award from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and the distinguished alumni award from the Cornell Graduate School of Medical Science.

Bluestone also has led the UCSF committee to strategize and secure funds available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, making the campus one of the top institutional recipients of science-based stimulus funds in the nation, with 276 awards and $129.5 million in funding to date.

Prior to joining UCSF, Bluestone was at the University of Chicago, where he was a member of the Ben May Institute for Cancer Research, rising over 13 years from an associate professor to the director of the institute. He previously worked for seven years in various roles at the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health, ultimately becoming a senior investigator in the Immunology Branch in the National Cancer Institute.

Bluestone earned both his BS in biology and his MS in microbiology from Rutgers State University. He earned his PhD in immunology from the Cornell Graduate School of Medical Science (Sloan-Kettering Division).

As UCSF executive vice chancellor and provost, Bluestone will report directly to the chancellor. He will receive a base salary of $385,300, with a health sciences compensation plan component of $52,300, as well as an executive automobile allowance of $8,916, for total compensation of $446,516. In addition, he is eligible for standard pension and health and welfare benefits for senior leadership.

UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. For further information, please visit www.ucsf.edu.