The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), has a new chancellor: Nobel Prize-winning oncogene researcher J. Michael Bishop. The appointment last week of Bishop, a physician by training and a UCSF professor, will mark the first time the biomedical research powerhouse has been headed by a researcher, not a clinician. But Bishop will not have to oversee hospitals directly, thanks to the recent merger of the Stanford and UCSF hospitals, which are now governed by a joint management board.
That will leave Bishop with time to confront the biggest challenge facing UCSF: relocating part of the space-starved Parnassus Heights campus to a separate site at Mission Bay, a 20-minute drive away. It will involve moving 200 biological scientists and their labs. UCSF faculty members have been jittery; they fear the split could rupture the cohesiveness of the research community. Bishop is well-known and liked for his enthusiasm, insight, and egalitarianism, says physiology chair Michael Stryker, and he thinks Bishop will be "the perfect leader" to oversee the move and build effective new programs.
Bishop plans to use the space vacated at Parnassus Heights to expand and strengthen clinical research. "This is a national need," he says, and one UCSF is "well positioned" to address.