University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

UCSF Names First-Ever Chief Genomics Officer

Precision Medicine Leader to Oversee Clinical Genomics Across UCSF Health

By Nicholas Weiler | | April 12, 2018

UCSF Names First-Ever Chief Genomics Officer

In a move that underscores the increasingly important role of genomics in medicine, UC San Francisco has appointed Aleksandar Rajkovic, MD, PhD, as the first Chief Genomics Officer (CGO) of UCSF Health. His appointment, which follows a national search, is effective May 1.

In this role, Rajkovic, previously of the University of Pittsburg Medical Center, will direct the activities of UCSF’s existing clinical genomics laboratories and work together with campus leadership to organize the clinical genetics and genomics services across the health system.

As CGO, Rajkovic will report to Josh Adler, MD, executive vice president of UCSF Health. He will have a joint academic appointment as a UCSF professor in the departments of Pathology and of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, and will serve as the Stuart Lindsay Distinguished Professor in Experimental Pathology.

The CGO’s first priorities will include understanding the needs of various departments and patient populations for genomic services across the system, particularly as they relate to genetic testing services, said Adler. Toward that end, he will collaborate closely with UCSF genetics leadership in UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland, the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, and adult clinical services offered through UCSF Health to identify critical needs and opportunities for growth and partnerships.

"Dr. Rajkovic brings extensive experience in the clinical application of genetic and genomic testing. This new post is an example of our commitment to bringing innovation to patients as quickly as possible."

Alan Ashworth, PhD, FRS
President, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

“The creation of this new role – one of the first such positions in the world – marks an advance in genomic medicine within our health system,” Adler said. “UCSF has been at the forefront of the precision medicine movement for over a decade. We have the utmost confidence that Dr. Rajkovic is the right leader to guide UCSF Health into the next era of genomic medicine.”

Applying Genetics and Genomics to Clinical Care

Rajkovic will partner with campus leadership to build a strong clinical genetics enterprise. In collaboration with the faculty in the Division of Medical Genetics and other physicians on campus, Rajkovic will lead efforts to apply genetics and genomics to clinical care within the health system. He will be a member of the Institute for Human Genetics, UCSF’s central hub for cutting-edge human genetics research, education and training, and will work to bolster the IHG’s mission to provide advanced clinical training and a fruitful environment for research in genetics and genomics across UCSF as a whole.

According to Ophir Klein, MD, PhD, the Charles J. Epstein Professor of Human Genetics and chief of the Division of Medical Genetics at UCSF, “We are looking forward to a close interaction between Dr. Rajkovic and our clinical genetics faculty members in Pediatrics, Obstetrics, Internal Medicine and the Cancer Center, as well as with our colleagues working on genetic diseases in other departments. Having a clinical geneticist embedded within the health system leadership will be an important step forward in terms of integrating genetics and genomics into the medical care of all patients at UCSF. As we continue to grow the number of clinical geneticists at UCSF, Dr. Rajkovic will provide a strong bridge between the health system and our Division of Medical Genetics.”

Rajkovic was previously the Marcus Allen Hogge Chair in Reproductive Sciences and director of reproductive genetics at the Magee-Womens Hospital at UPMC. He is an expert in the genetics of fertility and reproduction and has coordinated the university’s programs in clinical genetics for the past decade.

“Dr. Rajkovic brings extensive experience in the clinical application of genetic and genomic testing. This new post will bring together efforts in this area throughout UCSF Health and is an example of our commitment to bringing innovation to patients as quickly as possible,” said Alan Ashworth, PhD, FRS, president of the UCSF Cancer Center and senior vice president for UCSF Health cancer services, who was a member of the search committee that tapped Rajkovic for the CGO position.