Chemistry and Chemical Biology (PhD)

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Degree Offered: PhD
Program Leadership:
Jason Gestwicki, PhD, Program Director
Adam Renslo, PhD, Associate Program Director
Admissions Inquiries:
Arezou Razavi, Program Coordinator

Program Description

The Chemistry and Chemical Biology Graduate Program (CCB) prepares scientists to address problems at the intersection of chemistry and biology. In this program, students build a foundation of knowledge in chemistry and then combine it with the skills to understand and probe complex biological processes at the atomic, molecular, and cellular levels.

The CCB program at UCSF ranks among the top such programs in the nation. UCSF is a highly interdisciplinary educational environment, which fosters collaborations across the clinical, translational and basic sciences. The CCB program also has strong connections throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, providing exciting opportunities for trainees to pursue teaching, mentorship, entrepreneurship, science communication, consulting and pharmaceutical experiences.


The CCB program brings together about 50 faculty members from many departments across the UCSF campus, including Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Biophysics, Physiology, Otolaryngology and Radiology. The CCB faculty pursue many types of research projects, but share a common passion for chemistry and chemical biology. CCB faculty are also highly committed to excellence in mentoring and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), and are required to complete formal training in these areas. The CCB laboratories and its main office are located on the Mission Bay campus at UCSF, and are part of research units that include the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases, the Helen Diller Cancer Center, the Gladstone Institutes, and the Cardiovascular Research Institute.


Faculty in CCB provide training in chemistry and chemical biology, with a focus on six related areas:

  • Biological chemistry and synthetic biology
  • Chemical synthesis and natural products
  • Computational chemistry and biology
  • Drug discovery and design
  • Macromolecular structure and function
  • Protein and cellular engineering

Visit the program website for more information.

The CCB program is offered by the UCSF Graduate Division, administered by the UCSF School of Pharmacy, and delivered by faculty members in the UCSF schools of pharmacy and medicine.

Additional Information

Program Faculty

Career Outcomes