University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Preclinical Therapeutics Location & Contacts

Facility Location and Staff

Preclinical Core

UCSF Helen Diller Building
HD544, 1450 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94143-0808
415.476.0419 (voice, office), 415.502.7228 (voice, lab)

Rosemary J. Akhurst, PhD, Director, 415.514.0215
Byron Hann, MD, PhD, Manager, 415.476.0419
Fernando Salangsan, Drug Testing Specialist 
Donghui Wang, Preclinical Model Specialist, 415.476.1204
Paul Phojanakong, Lab Manager, 415.476-1204


R.AkhurstRosemary Akurst, PhD undertook her doctoral thesis studies at the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research in Glasgow, UK, followed by post doctoral training at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, USA. She has served as the Director of the Preclinical Therapeutics Core since 2006. Her broad experience includes genetic analysis of tumor susceptibility, studies on tumor microenvironment (angiogenesis and tumor immunity), cancer therapeutics, and personalized responses to therapy, with a focus on modeling cancer in mice.

 b.hannByron Hann, MD, PhD received his training from the UCSF School of Medicine and the UCSF Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. This was followed by a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Dundee, Scotland. Dr. Hann has over 20 years of experience studying the molecular basis of cancer, and has worked with mouse models of cancer for the past 18 years.

Donghui Wang Donghui Wang has extensive experience in the implementation of preclinical studies, including cell culture, tumor implantation, drug administration, tumor measurement and animal monitoring, and survival surgery. She has been a member of the UCSF PTC for over 15 years, and has played a central role in the completion of over 2,000 preclinical studies. She is an expert in small animal survival surgeries, and a master of techniques such as intracardiac cell implantation. She is also very familiar with the routine procedures, particularly for subcutaneous xenograft based studies.

Fernando Salangsang has over 20 years experience in a wide range of mouse handling procedures and methodologies. He has expertise in establishment and propagation of patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models and oversees much of the ongoing barrier-related procedures.

Paul Phojanakong has a strong background in administration and project management. He acts to coordinate scheduling, communications, study materials and billing. He is also directly involved with many hands-on aspects of study execution, including in vivo imaging. He is the main contact person for many aspects of the core’s day-to-day operations.


Laboratory The laboratory is located at UCSF's Mission Bay campus and consists of approximately 800 sq. ft. of space. Located in the Helen Diller Family Cancer Research Building (HDFCRB), the labs include wet lab bench space for four investigators, refrigerated microcentrifuges, 4°C and -20°C, and -80°C storage refrigerators/freezers, four computers for lab personnel; a tissue culture rooms equipped with CO2-incubators, two six foot biosafety cabinets, microscope, tabletop centrifuge and 37° water baths; and a liquid N2 cryo-storage unit. The laboratory is two floors below the Diller Building Rodent Barrier Facility.

Animals Mice used in these studies are housed in state-of-the-art specific-pathogen free rodent barrier facilities located on the 5th floor of the HDFCRB.  These animal facility houses over 8000 cages and is staffed by eight personnel from the Laboratory for Animal Resource Center. The facility contains a cesium irradiator, a Xenogen in vivo imaging system, a rodent-specific ultrasound imaging device and a precision irradiation instrument. The Cancer Center rodent barrier follows strict barrier protocols to minimize viral outbreaks.

Other The PTC maintains a cryorepository of cancer cell lines optimized for passage in immune-deficient mice. Core personnel are responsible for all aspects of the in vivo study including animal ordering, estrogen pellet implantation, cell culture, tumor cell implantation, tumor volume measurements, drug administration, and collection of tissues as required and data analyses. The PTC maintains a database on cancer cell lines with published and unpublished data concerning molecular and cellular phenotypes of interest to research scientists. An IACUC-approved protocol is used for all projects, with modifications approved by IACUC. After completing training requirements, collaborating investigators are added as personnel to the PTC’s IACUC protocol. Training is provided to postdoctoral fellows and technicians who wish to enhance their skills in experimental procedures on small laboratory animals.

Additional Resources
A searchable database of core facilities at all UCSF campus locations is available here.