Chancellor Christ Congratulates Dr. Maya Petersen on UCSF Partnership

November 2, 2021

Dear Cal alumni and friends:

There are many reasons why universities choose to partner together on research — personal links, proximity, and reputation being among them. But like all relationships, compatibility and a shared commitment to a common goal are the bedrock to a long-lasting, successful collaboration. 

On October 20, UC Berkeley and UCSF launched a one-of-a-kind program in computational precision health. The partnership positions our universities at the forefront in creating a new field at the intersection of medicine, statistics, and computation. By building a joint faculty group, we will simultaneously advance computing and data science with biomedicine and health, enabling solutions that would not have been imagined by either discipline alone.

Working together, our universities will develop new methods for data-driven clinical care, early detection, and intervention; new ways to predict outcomes; and new targeted treatments that are more effective with fewer side effects.  The program will also train researchers to design, build, and test innovations within real-world clinical and public health settings. Recognizing that algorithms too often exacerbate racial and other biases, the program will ensure that equity, fairness, accountability, and transparency are the hallmarks of all its activities. A Ph.D. degree program is anticipated by 2023.

An anonymous donor has given $50 million to Berkeley and UCSF to support the hiring of four new faculty members in the next year and to initiate development of the graduate program. The two institutions will collectively secure an addtional $100 million in funding. 

Dr. Maya Petersen, associate professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at Berkeley and the program’s co-director, cites the global response to COVID-19 as an example of why this program is needed. “There’s so much more we can do to deliver on our promise and improve our health care and public health systems,” she says. “We must serve the needs of populations and communities, as well as individuals, and work to address existing systemic inequities in health.”

Such partnerships would not be possible without the support of friends like you and your belief in our ability to not only revolutionize the quality and equity of medicine and health, but to create new fields of research altogether. Learn more on the UC Berkeley computational precision health website

Fiat Lux, and Go Bears!

Carol T. Christ

University Development and Alumni Relations Newsletter