UCSF Leading the Charge in Medical Research and Innovation

UCSF Medical Center is one of the most respected medical research hospitals in the United States. Learn how it uses new discoveries to improve patient care.

As one of the country’s top research facilities, the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) has pioneered many biomedical and health services technologies. UCSF Medical Center is part of the institution’s translational medicine program, improving patient outcomes and changing lives. 

UCSF Is One of World’s Top Medical Research Facilities

UCSF is considered one of the world’s foremost biomedical and health science research institutions. Since 2011, it has received more National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant money than any other public U.S. institution. UCSF received over $577 million in NIH grants in 2016 alone.

As part of its research endeavors, UCSF employs over 1,000 principal researchers and participates in approximately 3,000 health sciences and biomedical research projects each year. Five UCSF scientists have won Nobel Prizes in Physiology or Medicine, making groundbreaking discoveries in the areas of stem cell research, cell aging, cancers, and infectious agents.

It is also playing a vital role in the quickly developing field of precision medicine. Unlike traditional treatment, precision medicine takes into account gene variability, environment, and personal lifestyles. The goal is to transition from “one-size-fits-all” treatment to an approach that tailors care to a patient’s unique characteristics. UCSF likens their precision medicine project to creating “Google maps for health.” 

UCSF’s Research Improves Patient Experiences

Sometimes, researchers have a hard time converting their discoveries into real-life health solutions. UCSF, however, is also a leader in translational medicine, the process of implementing research-based findings in real-life medical care. In 2006, UCSF received a $108 million NIH grant to create its Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). 

CTSI and other UCSF research groups, including the California Institute for Biosciences (QB3) all operate on the UCSF Mission Bay campus, advancing what is already an innovative care approach at UCSF Medical Center. Today, UCSF Medical Center collaborates with the university’s researchers on a variety of important medical issues, including stem cell, cancer, heart, Alzheimer’s and dementia, and medical imaging research.

“We can push the translational research envelope further than anywhere in the United States, bringing discovery faster to the patient,” says Peter Carroll, MD, MPH, Associate Director of Strategic Planning and Clinical Services for the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and professor and chair of the UCSF Department of Urology. “We think it’s ideal.”

Clinical Trials Help Advance Medical Research and Bring Hope to UCSF Patients

Clinical human research is a vital part of most biomedical and health science studies. While clinical research can simply involve donating blood specimens or information, most people associate it with the clinical trial process. 

Clinical trial participants receive treatment or drugs that are not yet available to the general public. While participants might experience positive results, there are some risks associated with these trials. Researchers cannot guarantee that the experimental treatment will improve the participant’s condition or stop the progression of disease — and there might be serious side effects to the treatment. However, by participating in a clinical trial, they are helping advance research that might dramatically improve their and other’s conditions.

UCSF Medical Center is involved in more than 1,300 clinical trials. All clinical trials are supervised by UCSF researchers and clinicians and are operated strictly pursuant to a research protocol and federal regulations. If you’re interested in UCSF’s clinical trials, more information is available on its Clinical Research Resource HUB and Clinical Trials Finder.

Canopy Health’s Alliance Combine High Tech Research with Empathetic Care

UCSF Medical Center is a vital part of the Canopy Health alliance. Our members benefit from its patient-focused physicians and access to cutting-edge medical advances. Canopy Health also offers an innovative approach to healthcare: focusing on transparency, empathy, and cost-effectiveness. 


About Us. UCSF Clinical & Translational Science Institute. Retrieved from https://ctsi.ucsf.edu/about-us

UCSF Nobel Prize winners. University of California San Francisco. Retrieved from https://www.ucsf.edu/about/ucsf-nobel-prize-winners

Weiler, N. (2017, March 27). UCSF is top public recipient of NIH research funding for 6th consecutive year. University of California San Francisco. Retrieved from https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2017/03/406096/ucsf-top-public-recipient-nih-research-funding-6th-consecutive-year