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Susan Desmond-Hellmann Elected as HHMI Trustee

Published: Thursday, November 08, 2012
Last Updated: Thursday, November 08, 2012
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Desmond-Hellmann becomes one of 11 Trustees of the Institute.

Susan D. Desmond-Hellmann, M.D., M.P.H., chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), has been elected a Trustee of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

She becomes one of 11 Trustees of the Institute, a medical research organization dedicated to the discovery and dissemination of new knowledge in the life sciences.

Desmond-Hellmann, 55, became chancellor of UCSF in 2009. She is also the Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Distinguished Professor at UCSF.

An oncologist and renowned biotechnology leader, she spent 14 years at Genentech, serving as president of product development from 2004 to 2009.

In that role, she was responsible for Genentech’s pre-clinical and clinical development, process research and development, business development, and product portfolio management.

During her tenure, Desmond-Hellmann led efforts to bring a number of breakthrough cancer medicines, including Herceptin for breast cancer, to the marketplace.

Prior to joining Genentech, she was associate director of clinical cancer research at Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute, where she was the project team leader for the cancer-fighting drug Taxol.

Desmond-Hellmann is board-certified in internal medicine and medical oncology. She holds a B.S. in pre-medicine and a medical degree from the University of Nevada, Reno, and a master’s degree in public health from the University of California, Berkeley.

She completed her clinical training at UCSF, where she has served as associate adjunct professor of epidemiology and biostatistics. She also spent two years studying HIV and cancer at the Uganda Cancer Institute.

Desmond-Hellmann is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Institute of Medicine. She was named Woman of the Year in 2006 by the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association and inducted into the Biotech Hall of Fame in 2007.

In 2009, Forbes magazine named Desmond-Hellman one of the world’s seven most powerful innovators. She was one of Fortune magazine’s “50 most powerful women in business” in 2001 and from 2003 to 2008.

In December 2010, Desmond-Hellmann was appointed to the Board of Procter & Gamble. In January 2009, she joined the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s Economic Advisory Council for a three-year term.

In July 2008, she was appointed to the California Academy of Sciences board of trustees and, in 2012, to the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation's board of directors.


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