Renowned Pulmonary Disease Specialist to Lead UCSF Pulmonology Program

Prescott Woodruff, MD, MPH, a renowned leader in the pathogenesis and treatment of airway disease, has been appointed chief of UC San Francisco’s Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Allergy and Sleep Medicine.

Woodruff has been a professor of medicine at UCSF since 2002 and has served as vice chief of research for the pulmonary division since 2012.He came to UCSF in 1998 as a clinical fellow in pulmonary and critical care medicine and then became a research fellow in the Cardiovascular Research Institute (CVRI) and the pulmonary division. Prior to coming to UCSF, Woodruff completed his residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and obtained an MPH at the Harvard School of Public Health. He held research fellowships in respiratory epidemiology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Channing Laboratory and emergency medicine at MGH. He received his BA from Wesleyan University and his MD from Columbia University. 

Woodruff’s research program has been productive, impactful, and unusually broad – spanning bench, translational, and clinical research, including clinical trials. His best-known work involves the identification of molecular sub-phenotypes of asthma and COPD and he recently expanded this work to the study of racial disparities in the evaluation and treatment of obstructive lung disease.

“I am confident that Prescott Woodruff will be an exceptional leader across our enterprise, and across all our missions,” said Robert M. Wachter, Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine at UCSF. “The division has also been a leader in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion and Prescott’s selection reflects a commitment to his leadership in those areas.”

Woodruff has over 200 peer-reviewed publications, including major works in the New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, JAMAJournal of Clinical Investigation, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, and the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. He is currently principal investigator or co-PI on four NIH grants, as well as project leader, UCSF subcontract PI, or co-Investigator on nine other NIH grants, a level of support matched by only a handful of investigators at UCSF.

On the strength of his research contributions, Woodruff was elected to membership in the American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI) in 2012. In 2022, he was elected to the Association of American Physicians (AAP), which recognizes the nation’s top research faculty.  

On top of Woodruff’s remarkable research career, he is a dedicated clinician and teacher. He continues to serve as an attending physician in the Moffitt-Long ICU, trains post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty, holds a K24 mentoring award from the NIH, and was recognized with the UCSF faculty mentoring award from the pulmonary division in 2020. 

Woodruff will take over as chief from Dean Sheppard, who has served in the position for 12 years and was recently awarded the 2021 Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring award from UCSF.

Woodruff and his wife Laura Koth, another member of UCSF’s pulmonary faculty, live in San Francisco with their daughter Ella.

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