Physiology Department History

Physiology at UCSF dates back to 1898, when the University of California School of Medicine recognized that a more “hands-on” technique in the basic sciences laid a foundation for success in the medical profession. School of Medicine physiology instructor Dr. Arnold D'Ancona, became Dean of the Medical Department in 1899. As Dean, he constantly strove to improve instruction in the basic medical sciences. By 1902, the Regents formally established a Department of Physiology. Following the great San Francisco earthquake of April 1906, the Physiology Department relocated to Berkeley. However, in 1958, Physiology returned to its origins at the Parnassus Campus.*

Today, the Physiology Department has grown to over 125 faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and staff. Research projects cover the broad spectrum of physiological applications in neuroscience, molecular, and cellular physiology. The department research and administration are housed at the Mission Bay Campus, while instruction remains at its roots on the Parnassus Campus.


Physiology Faculty

Our faculty boasts numerous prestigeous affilliations including membership to the National Academy of Sciences, Fellows of the Royal Society, American Academy of Science, the National Academy of Medicine, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators.



The Physiology Department is the administrative home for:


In addition, the Department Administration supports post-award financial, operational, and human resources functions to the over 125 faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and staff.

UCSF Mission and Values


UC San Francisco is the leading university dedicated to advancing health worldwide through preeminent biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care.

Within our overarching advancing health worldwide mission, UCSF is devoted at every level to serving the public.

UCSF’s commitment to public service dates to the founding of its predecessor institution, Toland Medical College, in 1864. Born out of the overcrowded and unsanitary conditions of Gold Rush-era San Francisco, Toland Medical College trained doctors to elevate the standards of public health in the burgeoning city.

By 1873, the University of California acquired the college and forged a partnership with San Francisco General Hospital that continues to this day and serves as a model for delivering leading-edge care at a public safety-net hospital.

Today UCSF’s public mission goes beyond San Francisco and delivers a substantial impact on a national and global level by innovating health care approaches for the world’s most vulnerable populations, training the next generation of doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists and scientists; supporting elementary and high school education; and translating scientific discoveries into better health for everyone.


In his 2016 State of the University Address, Chancellor Sam Hawgood announced that UCSF is embracing a common set of values to set a clear direction for all members of the UCSF community as we work together to fulfill our mission. This set of overarching values aligns with UCSF’s Principles of Community and Code of Ethics.

PRIDE values are:

Professionalism: To be competent, accountable, reliable and responsible, interacting positively and collaboratively with all colleagues, students, patients, visitors and business partners.

Respect: To treat all others as you wish to be treated, being courteous, kind and acting with utmost consideration for others.

Integrity: To be honest, trustworthy and ethical, always doing the right thing, without compromising the truth, and being fair and sincere.

Diversity: To appreciate and celebrate differences in others, creating an environment of equity and inclusion with opportunities for everyone to reach their potential.

Excellence: To be dedicated, motivated, innovative and confident, giving your best every day, encouraging and supporting others to excel in everything they do.