Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Grand Rounds: Susan Desmond-Hellmann Outlines Her Vision for UCSF and Teaches Us a Thing or Two About Leadership and Goals

Today, we are going to listen to an interview with Susan Desmond-Hellmann.  She is a UCSF-trained oncologist who, after spending 14 years at the helm of Genentech, is now back at UCSF as its first woman chancellor.

At Genentech, she helped remake the company as the largest, no.1 and most-admired cancer drug maker in the world.  Genentech drugs Herceptin and Avastin have raised the bar and expectations from other cancer drug makers, and also have spawned a whole new generation of MAb-based therapies.  Herceptin has changed the nature of breast cancer treatment and management for increasing number of women with this cancerAt UCSF, her mission is similar, to reshape, remake and realign the University's focus towards translational medicine, fostering academia-industry partnerships, and creating a brand with broad recognition like Mayo Clinic.

Click here to watch the video of her NYT interview and here to listen to her October 2011 talk, "State of the University" at UCSF.

Susan Desmond-Hellmann is an admired leader and a role model.  She has won numerous accolades during her career: Forbes magazine named her as one of the top seven innovators in November 2009, FORTUNE magazine listed her among the “Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Business” in 2001 and in 2003-2008, and during 2004-2006, she appeared in the The Wall Street Journal's “Women To Watch” list.

She was inducted into the Biotech Hall of Fame in 2007, honored as Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association’s “Woman of the Year” in 2006, and named to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Institute of Medicine in October 2010.

She has a long association with cancer drug development, starting as a project leader of the Taxol team at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Connecticut, and then fourteen years at Genentech.  Now as the ninth chancellor of UCSF, and at times when public research funding is being squeezed, but pharma anxious to develop closer ties with the centers of research excellence, she is helping to churn and weave these upheavals into a state-of-the-art UCSF's Mission Bay campus with Pfizer, Sanofi and other industry stakeholders.

Read more about her profile at New York Times,, and her resume at And she is on twitter @UCSFChancellor.


Next, we go to NCI to listen to David Valle talk, "The Human Genome and Individualized Medicine."

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