As the University of California, San Francisco’s first vice chancellor for science policy and strategy, Keith Yamamoto leads efforts to anticipate the needs of an increasingly dynamic biomedical research endeavor, and to position UCSF optimally, by working within the university as well as influencing and shaping science policy at the state and national levels and beyond.
Throughout his career, Yamamoto has been focused on the practice of science, science education and mentoring, peer review, communication of science and advocacy for federal support for research. He also directs a research laboratory that for 40 years has made important discoveries on mechanisms that regulate gene expression in health and disease.
Yamamoto has long been a voice for science policy that emphasizes integration at three levels: (1) basic, clinical and social/behavioral/population research; (2) a merging of the concepts and approaches of physical sciences, engineering and computation/math with those of the life sciences and (3) effective partnerships between academia, industry and government.
He believes that such integration will produce transformative scientific advances with potential to address urgent societal challenges.
After earning his Ph.D. from Princeton University, Yamamoto joined the UCSF faculty in 1976. He has served in several leadership roles including chair of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, vice dean for research in the School of Medicine and vice chancellor for research. He chaired the committee that led the planning of the UCSF Mission Bay campus.
Yamamoto has chaired or served on numerous national committees focusing on a wide range of areas. For example, public and scientific policy, public understanding and support of biological research, science education, training the biomedical workforce, research funding and the process of peer review at the NIH. He chairs the Coalition for the Life Sciences and sits on the National Academy of Medicine Executive Committee, the National Academy of Sciences Division of Earth and Life Studies Advisory Committee and the Executive Committee of Research!America. As Chair of the NAS Board on Life Sciences, he created the study committee that produced Toward Precision Medicine: Building a Knowledge Network for Biomedical Research and a New Taxonomy of Disease, the report that enunciated the precision medicine concept, and he has helped lead efforts to implement it at the state and national levels, as well as at UCSF.
He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Medicine, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and American Academy of Microbiology, and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.