Theresa O'brien, PhD

Associate Chancellor
Committee Members

Theresa O'Brien, PhD, was appointed Associate Chancellor at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in September 2014, having served as Interim Assistant Chancellor for UCSF and Associate Dean for Research Strategy in the School of Medicine. In her current role, she acts as an advisor to and designate of the Chancellor, leading initiatives in support of UCSF’s operational and strategic priorities. O’Brien is accountable for a wide range of activities related to UCSF governance structure, strategic planning, emergent issues, the Chancellor’s Executive Team and Chancellor’s Cabinet. In all aspects of her work, she partners closely with fellow executive team and cabinet members as well as internal and external stakeholders to further UCSF’s mission.

O’Brien is also an Assistant Adjunct Professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology. Her research and teaching interests primarily focus on career and professional development for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. From 2010-2018, she directed the Graduate Student Internships for Career Exploration (GSICE) program, which provides career path education, career planning, and internship opportunities for UCSF’s basic and biomedical PhD students, and she is co-PI on a grant from the NIH to provide resources for PhD students and postdocs to explore career options and support for faculty mentors through the Motivating INformed Decisions (MIND) program. She is also involved in advancing precision medicine and related science policy issues at UCSF.

Theresa is a graduate of UCSF's Tetrad Graduate Program and completed her doctoral work in biochemistry in the laboratory of Jim McKerrow, MD, PhD. A Northern California native, she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BA in Biology from Williams College in Williamstown, MA.


Applying Experiential Learning to Career Development Training for Biomedical Graduate Students and Postdocs: Perspectives on Program Development and Design.

CBE life sciences education

Van Wart A, O'Brien TC, Varvayanis S, Alder J, Greenier J, Layton RL, Stayart CA, Wefes I, Brady AE

The origin and implementation of the Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training programs: an NIH common fund initiative.

FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

Meyers FJ, Mathur A, Fuhrmann CN, O'Brien TC, Wefes I, Labosky PA, Duncan DS, August A, Feig A, Gould KL, Friedlander MJ, Schaffer CB, Van Wart A, Chalkley R

Commentary: Team science.

Academic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges

O'Brien T, Yamamoto K, Hawgood S

RNA interference of Trypanosoma brucei cathepsin B and L affects disease progression in a mouse model.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases

Abdulla MH, O'Brien T, Mackey ZB, Sajid M, Grab DJ, McKerrow JH

Development of potent purine-derived nitrile inhibitors of the trypanosomal protease TbcatB.

Journal of medicinal chemistry

Mallari JP, Shelat AA, Obrien T, Caffrey CR, Kosinski A, Connelly M, Harbut M, Greenbaum D, McKerrow JH, Guy RK