Physician-Scientists at UCSF

reprinted from Issue 16, Spring 2013 of Frontiers of Medicine (PDF)

Talmadge E. King, Jr., MD, Chair, Department of Medicine

The UCSF Department of Medicine excels in caring for patients, as well as discovering new treatments for the conditions that afflict them. This issue highlights a few of our outstanding physician-scientists who devote the majority of their effort to finding new knowledge about health and disease. They are intrigued by the underlying causes of diseases that they see in clinic, and passionately pursue these questions over the entire continuum of biomedical investigation – from basic laboratory research to translational and patient oriented research and their application to the health of the population. The explosion of new scientific tools makes this an exciting time to be a physician-scientist, with great potential for unprecedented levels of discovery.

Yet aspiring physician-scientists face many obstacles. Clinical training has become more demanding and logistically complex, and young people must devote a growing number of years to advanced scientific training. They also face a challenging fiscal climate. Budget cuts to the National Institutes of Health and other agencies make grant funding for training and research increasingly tight, while physician-scientists compete head-to-head against investigators whose sole focus is the lab. Today’s physician-scientists are juggling research, patient care and family responsibilities, and some choose to narrow their career focus to clinical care or research alone. For those who truly have the talent and desire to become physician-scientists, this is a great loss.

The UCSF Department of Medicine is developing innovative approaches to supporting promising physician-scientists during training and while they launch successful careers. Philanthropic support plays a key role in these efforts, fueling many endeavors that will ultimately improve treatments, cure illness, and perhaps even prevent some diseases from occurring in the future.

We are deeply grateful for all your support of physician-scientists in the UCSF Department of Medicine. We look forward to their many discoveries, which will help to transform health in the years to come.


Talmadge E. King, Jr., MD
Chair, Department of Medicine
Julius R. Krevans Distinguished Professorship in Internal Medicine

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