UCSF Immunology, Neuroscience Research Highly Ranked Among US News’ Best Global Universities

By Mike Billings

Matthew Spitzer works in his lab with Iliana Tenvvoren
Matthew Spitzer (left), PhD, assistant researcher in Microbiology and Immunology, works in his lab with junior specialist researcher Iliana Tenvvoren. Photo by Susan Merrell

For the fifth straight year, UC San Francisco’s research areas have been ranked among the best in the world by U.S. News & World Report’s Best Global Universities rankings.

The 2019 rankings, released Oct. 30, place seven UCSF health sciences research subject areas in the top 10 rankings: second for Immunology; third for Clinical Medicine, Microbiology, and Neuroscience and Behavior; fifth for Biology and Biochemistry, and Molecular Biology and Genetics; and sixth for Pharmacology and Toxicology.

“UCSF’s high rankings in this year’s U.S. News Global University report affirm that the life sciences research done by our faculty and students is among the best in the world,” said Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Daniel Lowenstein, MD. “Pushing the boundaries of human knowledge, with the goal of bettering the human condition, is at the heart of everything we do at UCSF, whether it be in research, education or patient care, and our continued excellence in these specialties exemplifies how we are leading in work that truly advances health worldwide.”

This is the fourth straight year that UCSF has ranked second in Immunology as a research area. The ranking affirms the strength of this research at UCSF, which recently received a significant gift to launch the Bakar ImmunoX Initiative.

Among the rankings, UCSF’s Neuroscience and Behavior also tied for third place worldwide – rising from last year’s No. 4 ranking despite the fact that double the number of universities worldwide were included. Last year, 200 institutions were included in the specialty, and this year that number increased to 400.

The rankings, now in their fifth year, focus on schools’ academic research and reputation instead of undergraduate and graduate programs. The aim is to help an increasing number of international students accurately compare institutions around the world.

In the 2019 rankings, UCSF also placed 15th overall out of the world's top 1,250 universities. For the overall rankings, UCSF, which is focused exclusively on health sciences, must compete against other institutions that represent a broader scope of academic fields. UCSF joins other University of California schools in the top 20 for the overall rankings, including UC San Diego (17th), UCLA (13th) and UC Berkeley (4th).

The overall ranking scores were calculated based on 13 weighted indicators that included the University’s global and regional research reputation, publication record, extent of international collaborations and impact of their citations.

Each subject ranking has its own methodology based on academic research performance and reputation in that specific area.

UCSF’s research expertise across numerous health-sciences fields is also reflected by the number of National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants and contracts that its researchers receive. In 2017, the University received $593.9 million in NIH grants and research contracts. It was the seventh consecutive year that UCSF was the top public recipient of the competitive funding.