Susan Desmond-Hellmann

Powerful innovator of precision public health with a lifelong mission of improving the human condition


Susan Desmond-Hellmann MD, MPH ’88 is an oncologist, scientist and philanthropist, who now serves as the CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Desmond-Hellmann spent 14 years at the biotech firm Genentech developing a number of breakthrough medicines, including two of the first gene-targeted therapies for cancer, Avastin and Herceptin. Her time at Genentech put her at the forefront of the precision medicine revolution, which led to her consideration and appointment to the role of Chancellor of UCSF. With the Gates Foundation, she now leads their efforts to get the right interventions, to the right populations, in the right places, to save lives.

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