Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences faculty members teach tomorrow’s PhD scientists, clinicians, and clinical scientists to think critically and holistically as they approach scientific questions and clinical problems, and to work across disciplines as a matter of course. Through this way of learning, the hope is that graduates will continue to work across fields and with partners inside and outside academia.

Faculty members in the department also share their expertise with industry, government, and academic leaders in other universities. As part of a public university, faculty members believe it is their responsibility to actively share their research and knowledge with partners beyond UC San Francisco, enabling the development of therapeutics that will improve the health of people everywhere.

Degree programs

The department is responsible for aspects of the following degree programs:

PhD graduate degree programs

Department faculty members teach in many PhD graduate degree programs.

The School of Pharmacy administers these five programs:

  • PhD in Bioengineering (BioE), San Francisco arm
    Program Director: Duan Xu, PhD; Program Coordinator: Victoria Starrett
    The Bioengineering Graduate Program is jointly offered by UCSF and the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) through the UCSF/UCB Joint Graduate Group in Bioengineering (UCSF/UCB JGGB). It combines the resources in biomedical sciences at UCSF with the excellence in engineering, physical, and life sciences at UCB.
  • PhD in Biophysics (BP)
    Director: Tanja Kortemme, PhD
    The Biophysics Graduate Program prepares scientists to explore the intricacies of living systems through the application of physics and chemistry.
  • PhD in Biological and Medical Informatics (Bioinformatics pathway) (BI)
    Director: Ryan Hernandez, PhD
    The Bioinformatics pathway of the Biological and Medical Informatics Graduate Program prepares scientists to harness and apply the power of data analysis tools to understand the complexities of human biology.
  • PhD in Chemistry and Chemical Biology (CCB)
    Director: Jason Gestwicki, PhD
    Associate Director: Danica Galonić Fujimori, PhD
    The Chemistry and Chemical Biology Graduate Program prepares scientists to explore the molecules in complex living systems and to investigate how molecules influence health and disease.
  • PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacogenomics (PSPG)
    Codirectors: Su Guo, PhD & Rada Savic, PhD
    The Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacogenomics Graduate Program prepares independent, creative leaders in the pharmaceutical sciences, who can apply genetics and genomics to the development of safe, effective drugs for patients.

PharmD and MD professional degree programs and combined degree program

  • Vice Dean: Sharon L. Youmans, PharmD, MPH
    • Experiential Programs Director: Valerie Clinard, PharmD
    • Regional Program Directors:
      • Fresno: (unfilled)
      • Greater Sacramento: Tiffany Pon, PharmD
      • Los Angeles / Orange County: Robin Corelli, PharmD
      • North Bay: Kirsten Balano, PharmD
      • San Francisco Bay Area: Valerie Clinard, PharmD

Faculty members in the three School of Pharmacy departments develop and deliver the School’s Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, which is administered by the Dean’s Office. Faculty members outside the School also teach in the PharmD program.

The Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences administers the PharmD/PhD program, and department faculty members also teach in the Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree program, which is administered by the School of Medicine Dean’s Office.

  • PharmD
    The PharmD professional program prepares pharmacists to lead and innovate in pharmacy practice, policy, and science; to remain lifelong experts in the safe and effective use of medicines; and to contribute to patient-centered care within health care teams.
  • PharmD/PhD combined program
    There is a growing need for clinical scientists in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries to design and carry out clinical studies. UCSF is one of only a few universities in a position to train top-flight PharmD/PhD scientists.
  • MD
    The MD professional program emphasizes self-directed learning, connections across disciplines, and competency-based education.

Master of translational medicine degree program

  • Director: Shuvo Roy, PhD

The department co-directs the Master of Translational Medicine (MTM) degree program, designed to train students to apply translational research and engineering approaches to solve fundamental problems in health care delivery. The program links the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences at UCSF with the Department of Bioengineering at UC Berkeley.

Postdoctoral programs

Postdoctoral scholars, including fellows

Postdoctoral scholars add to the intellectual rigor of the department while furthering their own research. See Office for Postdoctoral Scholars.

The department welcomes inquiries from postdoctoral research and clinical fellows who have received fellowship funding for postdoctoral study by an extramural agency.

Faculty members usually prefer to receive directly from respected research colleagues the names of prospective postdoctoral scholars.

Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (CPT) Postdoctoral Training Program

  • Contact: Leslie Floren, PharmD, MA, DABCP

The goal of the Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (CPT) Postdoctoral Training Program is to develop clinical scientists who will be experts in clinical pharmacology research. The program trains PharmD, MD, and PhD scholars in laboratory and clinical investigations focused on therapeutics.

Supported by the National Institutes of Health, this training program is a cornerstone for the development of future clinical and translational scientists.

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Regulatory Science

  • Educational Program Director: Natalia Khuri, PhD, MBA

The Postdoctoral Fellowship in Regulatory Science offered by the UCSF-Stanford Center of Excellence in Regulatory Science and Innovation (CERSI) is an experiential program that provides our most outstanding postdocs with unique immersion experiences in regulatory science research.

Career-development and leadership courses

The department shares its expertise nationally and internationally through the following courses, offered to professionals in industry, regulatory agencies, academia, and health care.

Drug development: American Course on Drug Development and Regulatory Sciences (ACDRS)

  • Executive Board Members: Kathy Giacomini, PhD, and Leslie Benet, PhD

This course provides education and training in the field of medical product development at an advanced level. It focuses on the drug development pipeline, with emphasis on clinical trials and regulatory sciences.

The program is targeted to:

  • Scientists in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries who are involved in clinical drug development
  • Academic and government scientists
  • Decision- and policy-makers who already have a good grounding in the basics and will benefit from a more in-depth, comprehensive, and systematic immersion into modern medical product development regulation and market introduction

See American Course on Drug Development and Regulatory Sciences.

Pharmacokinetics: Pharmacokinetics for Pharmaceutical Scientists (PK Course)

  • Directors: Leslie Benet, PhD, and Robert Upton, PhD

This course covers the basic principles of pharmacokinetics with emphasis on physiologic conceptualization and problem solving. Course content aims to greatly enhance pharmacokinetic knowledge and to integrate pharmacokinetic principles and concepts into everyday practice.

The program is targeted to:

  • Pharmacists
  • Physicians
  • Pharmacologists
  • Others in the pharmaceutical sciences who will use pharmacokinetics in the development and testing of drugs

The course is presented in one five-day block in San Francisco, California. See Pharmacokinetics for Pharmaceutical Scientists.

Interdisciplinary approach

PhD education is a highly interdisciplinary endeavor at UC San Francisco—a natural outgrowth of UCSF’s hallmark interdisciplinary approach to research.

The education of health professional students is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary as issues of health care cost, quality, access, and disparities in the United States call for dramatic changes in how care is delivered.