To the Stars: Stem Cell Research Lifts Off with an Historic Investment

Chancellor Khosla with Cat Jamieson and Denny Sanford

From left, T. Denny Sanford, Catriona Jamieson, MD, PhD, and Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla celebrate the establishment of the UC San Diego Sanford Stem Cell Institute, made possible by a historic gift from Sanford.

Last week, we were delighted to announce the largest single gift ever to UC San Diego – a $150 million commitment from philanthropist T. Denny Sanford to establish the UC San Diego Sanford Stem Cell Institute. Adding to his previous $100 million gift, these combined resources will significantly boost research capabilities and solidify UC San Diego as a global leader in stem cell research and discovery. Simply put, this visionary investment will transform the future of human health.

Stem cell research has the potential for extraordinary applications, including regenerative medicine and the development of treatments and cures for devastating diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. New discoveries made possible by this partnership will undoubtedly benefit countless patients worldwide. It will also give many a renewed chance at life.

This funding not only lays the groundwork for revolutionary discoveries on Earth – it will significantly expand UC San Diego’s stem cell research in space. Soon, stem cells will be launched into low-Earth orbit aboard the International Space Station as part of the Sanford Stem Cell Education and Integrated Space Stem Cell Orbital Research Program (ISSCOR). The possibilities are endless at this pivotal moment.

Since UC San Diego’s founding, interdisciplinary partnerships have been at the heart of our mission. We know that when great minds come together for a common purpose, they generate innovative and transformative new discoveries that would not be possible separately. And we have proven time and again that collaboration among many disciplines is how excellence in research is achieved. It is what we do best. With these new resources to empower researchers from across our institution to work collaboratively, we will markedly advance the study of stem cells for the greater good.

Thanks to this historic investment in UC San Diego’s world-class research enterprise, we are advancing our collective capacity to lead the way in stem cell research. We are revolutionizing standards of care around the world. And we are driving discoveries that will reach unprecedented heights. I cannot wait to see what’s next.

UC San Diego Health Tops US News & World Report Rankings

 U.S. News & World Report once again names UC San Diego Health #1 in San Diego and #5 in California.

For the second year in a row, U.S. News & World Report names UC San Diego Health #1 in San Diego and #5 in California.

The most current rankings from the U.S. News & World Report “Best Hospital” survey were announced this week. UC San Diego Health has sustained its #1 local ranking and is #5 in California.

These rankings are validation of our critical role in the region for providing safe, high-quality health care to our community and to patients across the United States.

For the 2022-23 rankings and ratings, U.S. News & World Report evaluated more than 4,500 hospitals across 15 specialties and 20 procedures and conditions.

Among these, UC San Diego Health ranked in 10 specialties: 

  • Pulmonology (10)
  • Gastroenterology and GI Surgery (11)
  • Geriatrics (11)
  • Urology (16)
  • Cancer (20)
  • Cardiology and Heart Surgery (21)
  • Ear, Nose & Throat (21)
  • Neurology & Neurosurgery (21)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology (26)
  • Orthopedics (39)

In addition to top rankings in U.S. News & World Report, UC San Diego Health is recognized as having the highest level of safety from The Leapfrog Group with an “A” for both campuses and is top ranked nationally among Comprehensive Academic Medical Centers by Vizient Inc. for demonstrating excellence in delivering high-quality care. And the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid and Services (CMS) recognized UC San Diego Health as a five-star institution for the quality of our care.

These combined rankings and ratings are affirmation that academic medicine at UC San Diego Heath – a unique combination of patient care, research and teaching – distinguishes itself as a health care approach that is at the forefront of medical and surgical care. 

I want to recognize and congratulate Chief Executive Officer Patty Maysent, Chief Medical Officer Christopher Longhurst, MD and our entire UC San Diego Health team. They work diligently to provide world-class patient care to every patient every day. 

I am very proud of our health system. I am proud of our many dedicated employees for helping to make our greater community healthier, happier and stronger. UC San Diego Health is one of the nation’s most respected health systems because of what our health employees do consistently each and every shift.

UC San Diego Increasing Housing, Lowering Overall Cost of Education

rendering of the new Peppery Canyon West Living and Learning Neighborhood

Construction of Pepper Canyon West Living and Learning Neighborhood will start this summer, with the goal of opening in the fall of 2024. Copyright: Perkins & Will Architects

Last week, the San Diego Union-Tribune published an opinion article I wrote sharing what UC San Diego is doing to help students with housing on and off campus. Our strategies for building new on-campus housing to enhance the student experience have been in motion for nearly a decade. 

In 2014, UC San Diego committed to working toward a four-year housing guarantee at 20 percent below market rate for graduate and undergraduate students. Since then, we have built 3,530 new beds for graduate students and 2,000 new beds for undergraduate students. With 18,022 total beds on campus today, UC San Diego ranks third in the nation for student housing inventory, just behind Penn State and UCLA.

Although the pandemic momentarily slowed progress toward our goal, we have expanded our strategies to address the current housing shortage. 

For example, this fall we will add 700 beds by reinstituting triple occupancy in select rooms, increasing capacity and providing more cost-effective solutions to our students.

For those living off-campus, students can schedule consultations to review housing options and find move-in and move-out resources through our Off-Campus Housing Office. Our off-campus housing website features current listings, house-hunting tips, a roommate-finder tool and access to assistance from our dedicated off-campus housing team.

UC San Diego has also partnered with the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System and the North County Transit District to offer students the Triton U-Pass, providing subsidized transit on the Coaster, Rapid 237 express bus and trolley. U-Pass provides direct, cost-effective access to housing options near rapid transit throughout the county.

UC San Diego Blue Line Trolley station on campus

The arrival of the new UC San Diego Blue Line Trolley Line extension in November 2021 opened a wider range of affordable off-campus housing options located within walking distance of rapid transit.

We are also forging ahead with plans to enhance the student experience while lowering costs and increasing access to a UC education. 

Starting in fall 2023, three new on-campus housing neighborhoods will open in successive years, adding 5,300 new undergraduate beds on campus by 2025. Future plans to replace older housing with new living learning neighborhoods will increase on-campus housing by at least 10,000 beds by 2035.

To further reduce the cost of housing and therefore the cost of education, I have worked successfully with the UC Regents and state legislators to develop the new $2 billion Higher Education Student Housing Grant Program that is helping to build new student housing across California. UC San Diego recently received a $100 million grant from the program, which will be leveraged to lower rates up to 55 percent below market for 1,100 low-income California resident students. 

UC San Diego continues to make progress toward a four-year housing guarantee at 20 percent below market rate. If enrollment projections are unchanged, our goal to house 50 percent of all students is within reach by 2025. Building housing that students, staff and faculty can afford will continue to be a top priority.

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