Upcoming Events
All Events
May 31, 2024
Science Diplomacy Career Panel

This Science Diplomacy Career Panel will feature local SF diplomats, including Emilia Pasquier (CEO of Swissnex), and Martin Rauchbauer (Austrian tech diplomat). Our panel is co-hosted by the National Science Policy Network (NSPN), as part of their wider Science Diplomacy Roadshow held in various cities across the USA. The event will feature a 1-hour moderated panel discussion plus audience Q&A and followed by a networking reception with refreshments.

If you have ever wondered what science diplomacy entails, which skills you would need for a diplomatic career, or how scientific collaborations operate on an international scale, this is an excellent opportunity to learn more and network with local diplomats and NSPN members. We would love to see you there!

Location: Mission Hall 1401 & 1402, Mission Bay campus

Time: 3-5pm including a reception with panelists

RSVP on the NSPN event page!

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May 1, 2024
Panting a Portrait of the Psychedelic Renaissance

Join us for an insightful conversation between two leaders in the global psychedelic Renaissance. Joshua Woolley, MD, PhD, has a long-standing interest in the medicinal qualities of psychedelic compounds. As Director of the UCSF Translational Psychedelic Research Program, he is the Lead Scientist for several clinical trials here at UCSF. Imran Khan is the executive director of the UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics and is focused on exploring the potential of psychedelics through research, advocacy, and public education. As a group, we'll learn how the scientific and legal landscape around psychedelics has changed in recent years, as well as discover opportunities for scientists to engage in this new frontier.

Time: 5:30-7:00pm (Dinner will be served!)

Location: Byers Auditorium, Genentech Hall, Mission Bay campus (Note the room change!)

RSVP here!

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July 19, 2023
Congressional Life Sciences Fair

We are thrilled to have four UCSF representatives share cutting-edge UCSF research at the 2023 Congressional Life Sciences Fair on Capitol Hill, Washington D.C! These SPG leaders will also join Dr. Keith Yamamoto (Vice Chancellor of Science Policy and Strategy), Dr. Ben Rubin (Associate Director of Precision Medicine), and Eric Anthony (Director of Federal Government Relations) in meetings with congressional offices to advocate for federal support for biomedical research and training.

More about our two teams:

Sneha Rao and Elysse Phillips, two graduate students in the Weiner Lab at UCSF, study pre-implantation mouse embryo development to understand implantation defects in embryos of advanced maternal age. They will discuss how this research could reduce infertility and inform advancements to stem cell-based embryo models that can provide critical insight into early human development and disease. They aim to highlight why we need a new regulatory framework to keep up with rapidly advancing embryo models.

Learn more about stem cell-based embryo models:

Daniel Sprague and Dan Karmelic, a Neuroscience researcher in the Foco Lab and postdoc in the Davis Lab, will explore why and how they use the humble C. elegans worm to answer fundamental neuroscience questions. They will zoom in on a fascinating study where worms were used to understand the role sleep may play in long term memory formation. Rashmi Chandra, lead author of this study and postdoc in the L'Etoile Lab, will join Daniel and Dan in presenting this work. They hope to demonstrate why investment in basic science is essential towards advancing our understanding of the human brain and what goes wrong in diseases that affect memory such as Alzheimer's Disease.

Check out the research highlighted in their poster:

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June 5, 2023
Applying Science to Policymaking: UCSF's first SciPol minicourse

From tackling pandemics to addressing climate change, we need scientific expertise to craft evidence-based policies to solve society’s big challenges. Designed to train scientists to engage with policymaking of all levels, this mini-course is a first step for anyone interested in science policy. We will focus on two core competencies: (1) knowledge of the policymaking process and (2) rhetorical skills for communicating with a variety of audiences, with special attention given to how these skills can be used in advocacy and social justice work. Each student will apply these skills to build a policy portfolio with an elevator pitch, letter to the editor, and policy brief on a selected science policy topic. This course is intended for students on any career trajectory and will provide opportunities to interact with expert guest speakers in a variety of career paths.

We will be sharing some resources compiled from the minicourse. In the meantime, check out our twitter thread outlining the course!

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May 18, 2023
Science Diplomacy Career Panel with NSPN

This Science Diplomacy Career Panel will feature local SF diplomats from four representative countries (United Kingdom, Japan, Chile, Switzerland). Our panel is co-hosted by the National Science Policy Network (NSPN), as part of their wider Science Diplomacy Roadshow held in various cities across the USA. The event will feature a 1-hour moderated panel discussion plus audience Q&A and followed by a networking reception with refreshments.

If you have ever wondered what science diplomacy entails, which skills you would need for a diplomatic career, or how scientific collaborations operate on an international scale, this is an excellent opportunity to learn more and network with local diplomats and NSPN members. We would love to see you there! RSVP here.

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April 19, 2023
Overdose Prevention Workshop and Seminar

In January, UCSF Student Health informed students that naloxone will be made available to all students. In response to this initiative, the Science Policy Group has organized a hands-on workshop and a seminar on harm reduction research to help train UCSF community members on overdose prevention strategies. Join us on April 19 @ 5:30pm (Byers Hall 212) - get some free pizza and take home nasal narcan and fentanyl test strips!


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November 14, 2022
Letter of support for the UAW strike

November 14, 2022

The Science Policy Group (SPG) at UCSF stands in solidarity with the members of UAW 5810, UAW 2865, and SRU-UAW in their bargaining with the University of California (UC).

We understand the unions’ workplace demands as issues of science policy — namely, the policies that guide the conduct of science. Key outstanding issues at the bargaining table include wages, housing, transit, and justice for underrepresented and marginalized groups. The unions have drafted proposals that are evidence-based and data-driven. Each request has been calculated according to the reality of California’s sky-high cost of living. Barriers like cost of living have a disproportionate and severe impact on students and workers from marginalized and underrepresented backgrounds, and continue to dissuade the brightest minds from diverse backgrounds from considering UCSF or other UC institutions for higher learning. Without transformative, forward-thinking changes to the scientific enterprise, we cannot possibly uphold our commitments to diversifying and sustaining a robust scientific workforce into the 21st century.

Leading up to this current moment, members of these unions have engaged in rallies, meetings with key stakeholders, and have been engaged in good-faith negotiations with the UC Labor Relations team for the better part of a year. And yet, little to no progress has been made on key economic issues. Chiefly, the UC team has repeatedly refused to make substantive proposals on transit or housing or to include a cost of living adjustment in their wages proposals. To be clear, there can be no reasonable path forward without enshrining these common-sense measures into workers’ contracts.

Instead, UC has repeatedly broken labor law by bypassing the union, making unilateral changes to workers’ rights and benefits, refusing to provide information they are legally required to give, and engaging in direct intimidation of workers. Under labor law, these repeated unfair labor practices give workers in these unions the right to strike in order to stop these unjust actions and win a fair contract. We fully support this right.

We know UCSF and the broader UC system to be a leader in the pursuit of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in higher education and research. Most recently, Chancellor Hawgood reiterated our commitment to “funding efforts around wellbeing, social justice, and future of work” — all of which fall squarely in line with the unions’ proposals.

In closing, we vehemently urge the UC Labor Relations team to cease any and all unlawful labor practices, engage in good-faith bargaining, and agree to the unions’ bargaining demands to ensure a more just and sustainable UC and public scientific workforce.

The Science Policy Group at UCSF

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September 29, 2022
Vaccine Equity Series

"Could you patent the sun?" is a three-part speaker series that will consider the global rollout of mRNA vaccines during the Covid-19 pandemic and the gross disparities in access to vaccine technology and other therapeutics that resulted between Global North and South. These cross-disciplinary conversations will explore the logistics of vaccine research, production, and distribution with attention to how legacies of global imperialism and intellectual property law have shaped who ultimately has access to lifesaving technologies.

When Jonas Salk developed one of the first polio vaccines, he affirmed it as public domain.  When asked who owned the patent to the vaccine, he replied “Well the people I would say.  There is no patent.  Could you patent the sun?”.  We invoke Salk’s rhetorical question to create an opening to reconsider our current trajectory.  What are next steps forward and what could a more internationalist and collaborative practice of science look like?

Could you patent the sun?:

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April 8, 2022
Science Ethics and Policy Symposium 2022

Join the Science Policy Groups at UCSF and UC Berkeley for our first ever Science Ethics and Policy Symposium, "From Plants to Privacy: Science Ethics for the Modern Era," taking place on April 8-9th at UC Berkeley! This event explores the unintended consequences of new science and technology. How can innovation exacerbate economic or racial inequity? How does novel science and tech impact every community, especially those whose perspectives have been historically overlooked?

Dive into hard-hitting discussions on the ethical ramifications of innovative tools like CRISPR, artificial intelligence, and big data collection. Meet like-minded scientists, professional students, policymakers, and early-career researchers who are interested in science policy, communication, advocacy, and social justice. Participate in our networking receptions, poster and flash talk sessions, raffles with prizes, and more! 

Check out for more information and register here today! Registration includes four meals and two networking receptions.

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September 27, 2021
Hard Questions Series: Homelessness, Housing, and Evictions

This virtual panel will feature experts on the history and policy of housing, homelessness and evictions in the United States. We will ask hard questions as part of a discussion to better understand the current crisis and viable steps forward. Speakers were Dr. Margot Kushel director of the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations, TJ Johnston editor of Street Sheet, Rosemary Ndubizu Professor of African American Studies at Georgetown University, and Shanti Singh Legislative Director of Tenants Together. Moderated by Chad Altobelli and Toshio Meronek freelance housing journalist.

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February 12, 2021
State Science Policy Fellowships Panel

Join the SPG and OCPD for our annual State-Level Science Policy Fellowships Panel. This event will feature a panel of former fellows of the California Council on Science & Technology (CCST) Science Fellows Program, which places fellows in the California legislative and executive branches and, for the first time, a current inaugural fellow for the Missouri Science and Technology (MOST) Policy Initiative. Science policy fellowships offer a fantastic opportunity for researchers to explore the policy realm. These fellowships give graduate students and postdocs invaluable policy experience that they can either apply in their future research careers or use as a steppingstone into other sectors. The event will be a great chance both to get insights and advice whether you are interested in applying for a fellowship or curious to hear about career options in science policy and beyond.


1) Brittany Whitley, PhD, works as the Education & Workforce Development Policy Fellow for the Missouri Science & Technology (MOST) Policy Initiative. Prior to starting at MOST, she earned her PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Washington- Seattle and a B.S. in Neuroscience from Bucknell University.

2) Sandra Nakagawa, PhD, is a consultant in the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee. Before joining the Legislature, she received a PhD in Sociology from Stanford and BAs in Sociology and English from UC Berkeley. In 2018 Sandra was a CCST Science and Technology Fellow in the Assembly Judiciary Committee and later worked as a Legislative Aide in the office of Assemblymember Mark Stone.

3) Cristina Echeverría Palencia, PhD, works as a climate investments specialist at the California Air Resources Board. Prior to her current position, she was a CCST Science Fellow at the California Strategic Growth Council and the Governor's Office of Planning and Research (OPR). Cristina is trained as a Civil and Environmental Engineer and a Chemical and Biomolecular Engineer.

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November 18, 2020
Engineers & Scientists Acting Locally (ESAL) Panel

Join Engineers & Scientists Acting Locally and the National Science Policy Network for an online panel discussion with STEM student groups that are leading Covid response efforts in their communities. Panelists: Serena Wang - CovidSMS, Alexandria Lee - Students vs Pandemics, Elina Kostyanovskaya - UCSF Science Policy Group.

COVID-19 has created challenges in communities across the US. STEM students have responded to meet these challenges with initiative and resourcefulness. This webinar highlights various student groups that are responding to COVID-19 in their local communities. Attendees will gain an understanding of what these groups are doing as well as the lessons they’ve learned on how to be most effective. We hope attendees will leave inspired to begin their own efforts to assist their communities in COVID response.

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October 2, 2020
Federal Fellowship Opportunities Panel

The Science Policy Group and the Office of Career & Professional Development are pleased to present a series of events featuring science policy fellowship alumni. Whether you are interested in applying for a policy fellowship or simply curious about careers in science policy, these former fellows' insights and advice are worth hearing. Science policy fellowships offer a fantastic opportunity for researchers to explore the policy realm. These fellowships, which range from three month to year-long placements, give graduate students and postdocs invaluable policy experience that they can either apply in their future research careers or use as a stepping stone into other sectors.

Our first event, on Friday (10/2) from 4pm-5pm PDT, will feature alumni of two federal-level fellowships: (1) The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellowship and (2)The Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship at the National Academy of Sciences. Alumni Panelists: Dr. Emma Alme, Dr. Ali Douraghy, Dr. Lydia LePage, and Dr. Esha Mathew

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October 21, 2019
San Francisco District Attorney Debate

Did you know that this is the first open race for District Attorney in San Francisco in over 100 years? Did you know the election is in a little over a month (November 5th)? Come out to the District Attorney Debate on Mon., Oct. 21, 6-8 pm, in Byers Auditorium of Genentech Hall at UCSF’s Mission Bay Campus (250 Campus Way). Doors open at 5:25pm.

For the first time in over a century in San Francisco, this year’s election is an open race with four visionary new candidates. Come hear the candidates talk about issues such as mental health, mass incarceration, violence as a health issue, and whatever other issues YOU can think of. Questions will be community/audience-submitted! We will have VOTER REGISTRATION on-site--this will be last day to register (including change of address)!

Hosted by the Science Policy Group at UCSF and the UCSF Philip R . Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, this event is a great opportunity for the UCSF community and public to learn more about each candidate’s views on the criminal justice system and how they plan to serve our communities. Light DINNER will be served.

Opening Remarks by: Emile DeWeaver. Emile DeWeaver became a published writer, community organizer, and co-founder of while serving a 67 year to life sentence. Gov. Brown granted him clemency in 2017. Emile is interested in internalized systems of oppression and how they prevent us from building and maintaining effect models of justice. He guest lectures at social justice venues and in universities about his written work, what he calls liberation models, and what he calls the lying fiction of criminality.

This is a non-partisan event, as such there will be no campaign literature, buttons, or promotional materials permitted in the auditorium.

The debate will be moderated by Dr. Brie Williams. Brie Williams, MD, MS (Director, The Criminal Justice & Health Program at UCSF) is a Physician and Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Williams collaborates with colleagues from criminal justice, public safety, government and the law to integrate a healthcare perspective into criminal justice reform. Her research has called for increased attention to the impact of solitary confinement on adverse physical health outcomes; a more scientific development of medical “compassionate” release policies for incarcerated patients with serious illness; and improved systems for defining, recognizing, and responding to disability, dementia, and serious illness in the correctional environment. Dr. Williams has served as a consultant for jails, prisons, and legal and policy organizations throughout the U.S. and internationally, including the National ACLU, the U.S. Sentencing Commission, and the World Health Organization. As Founder and Director of Amend at UCSF, her work is increasingly focused on transforming culture in U.S. prisons and jails as a vital strategy for restoring health and humanity to the U.S. criminal justice system and ending mass incarceration.

The Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies (PRL-IHPS), a co-host of this event, contributes to the solution of complex and challenging health policy problems through leadership in research, training, technical assistance, and public service. Our special competence lies in translating research across disciplines and fields to inform health policy. We undertake this work with a commitment to improve health and health care within local, state, national, and international communities and with a focus on improving the health of vulnerable populations.

The following candidates have confirmed that they will be in attendance (in alphabetical order): Chesa Boudin, Leif Dautch, Suzy Loftus, Nancy Tung

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October 17, 2019
Ballot Initiative Forums

Are you ready for November 5? The non-partisan organization League of Women Voters of SF is hosting a San Francisco ballot initiative forum. Learn more about what’s on the ballot and how you can engage.

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November 6, 2018
OpEd Writing Series and Contest

Part of a series on communicating your expertise to the public and policy makers. Submit a science related op-ed to a newspaper, journal, or online publisher to be eligible

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October 30, 2018
Briefing from the NASEM on the Sexual Harassment of Women

Earlier this year, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) released a consensus study report on the issue of sexual harassment of women entitled, "Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine." The entire report isavailable online here, and the report highlights are available here.

We are honored to host Dr. Frazier Benya, Senior Program Officer with the Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine (CWSEM) at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, andDr. Elizabeth Hillman, President of Mills College & Study Committee Member, to share a briefing on the report with the UCSF community.

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March 27, 2017
Advocating for Science Series

Event 1: Science Advocacy

UCSF government relations provided information, tools, and skills to better equip scientists to advocate for basic research, higher education, science funding, and scientific rigor in policy and decision-making. Co-hosted with the Graduate Division as part of the Advocating for Science and Scientists in 2017 and Beyond series.

Event 2: Twitter for Science

A workshop on how to leverage social media to communicate science.

Event 3: Editing Workshops

Peer editing workshops for individuals writing Op-Eds for publication.

Event 4: Developing Your Scientific Elevator Pitch

An interactive workshop on how to tailor your research to a specific audience, including legislators.

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September 13, 2016
Pursuing Gender Equity at UCSF

SPG & WiLS partnered to present a panel discussion between UCSF leadership and trainees on gender equity issues. Cole Hall Auditorium, Parnassus 12 PM

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April 25, 2016
ASAPBio Town Hall

Ron Vale and James Fraser led a discussion of the value of preprint servers in accelerating and advancing science communication and education as a follow-up event from the ASAPbio meeting held in Washington DC in February 2016.

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December 2, 2015
Science Communication Panel

A panel on Science communication with Carry the One Radio, iBio, Youreka Science, and the dedicated publicity and outreach team at UCSF, all of whom work hard to communicate science to the public in engaging and exciting ways.

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February 4, 2015
Science Policy at the White House

Former White House Fellow Charina Choi spoke about her experience in the Office of Science and Technology Policy under the Obama administration.

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