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An Interview with Susan Desmond-Hellman

Susan Desmond-Hellman has been chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco, for about two years now. She moved to the university after a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry, and is determined to make the school as famous in the eyes of the public as the Mayo Clinic for innovative biomedical research, The New York Times' Denise Grady says. Grady recently spoke with Desmond-Hellman, UCSF's first female chancellor. "The school is undergoing an enormous expansion in a difficult economy, and as a physician and scientist, she hopes to raise it to an even higher plane," Grady says. "As a businesswoman, she is determined to make sure it has enough money to get there." Desmond-Hellman and her husband recently donated $1 million to the school to help it reach that goal, and the chancellor says she wants to make UCSF "the world’s pre-eminent health sciences innovator." Desmond-Hellman tells Grady that she wants UCSF to focus more on translational research. In addition, Grady says Desmond-Hellman wishes to supplement the school's usual sources of income by increasing collaborations with biotech companies in the Bay Area. "To those who say this is the wrong time to set her sights so high, she points out that two phenomenally successful companies, Apple and Genentech, the biotech giant she helped run, were both started in 1976, when the economy was in the dumps," Grady adds.

The Scan

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A JAMA Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery study says polygenic risk scores associated with hearing loss in older adults is also associated with hearing decline in younger groups.

Genome-Wide Analysis Sheds Light on Genetics of ADHD

A genome-wide association study meta-analysis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder appearing in Nature Genetics links 76 genes to risk of having the disorder.

MicroRNA Cotargeting Linked to Lupus

A mouse-based study appearing in BMC Biology implicates two microRNAs with overlapping target sites in lupus.

Enzyme Involved in Lipid Metabolism Linked to Mutational Signatures

In Nature Genetics, a Wellcome Sanger Institute-led team found that APOBEC1 may contribute to the development of the SBS2 and SBS13 mutational signatures in the small intestine.