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FINDING CURES TOGETHER<sup>SM</sup>
Susan D. Desmond-Hellman, MD, MPH

Susan D. Desmond-Hellman, MD, MPH
​Chief Executive Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle, Washington; Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Distinguished Professor, University of California, San Francisco, California

Susan D. Desmond-Hellman, MD, MPH | Class of 2015

​Internationally known for her pivotal work on developing paclitaxel and cancer diagnostics, Dr. Desmond-Hellmann pioneered personalized treatments for cancer patients. She played a key role in developing the monoclonal antibodies, bevacizumab (anti-VEGF-A) and trastuzumab (anti-HER2/neu), two of the first gene-targeted therapies for cancer.

During her time at Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Pharmaceutical Research Institute, she served as the project team leader for the tubulin-targeted chemotherapeutic, paclitaxel, which is effective against a variety of cancers, including breast, non-small cell lung, and pancreatic cancer. During her tenure at Genentech, she led in developing a wide range of molecularly targeted cancer therapeutics including erlotinib (EGFR inhibitor), ranibizumab (anti-VEGF-A), and rituximab (anti-CD20) that have revolutionized the field.

At the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) she continued to promote the concept of “precision medicine” and worked to establish comprehensive data networks capable of integrating basic, translational, and clinical research information to better develop novel cancer diagnostics and personalized therapies. In 2014, Dr. Desmond-Hellmann resigned her Chancellor position at UCSF to join the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where she leads the foundation's efforts to promote equity for all people around the world, sets strategic priorities, monitors results, and facilitates relationships with key partners.

Career Highlights

​2013  Board of Directors, Facebook, Inc.
2012-2014  Elected Trustee, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
2012  Distinguished Citizen Award, Commonwealth Club of California
2010  Board of Directors, Procter & Gamble Company
2010  Elected Member, Institute of Medicine
2010  Elected Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
2009  Biotechnology Lifetime Achievement Award, BayBio
2009  “Powerful Innovator” Designation, Forbes Magazine
2007  Biotech Hall of Fame
2006  “Woman of the Year” Designation, Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association
2005-2008  Board of Directors, AACR
2005  “50 Women to Watch” Designation, Wall Street Journal
2001, 2003-2008  “50 Most Powerful Women” Designation, Fortune Magazine
1988  MPH, University of California-Berkeley School of Public Health
1982  MD, University of Nevada