Our Day With Mission Bay

Big3Bio Intern Trip to Mission Bay

Students on the stairs in Genentech Hall

As we stepped off of the Muni T-Line, we found ourselves at the start of Gene Friend Way, the threshold of UCSF’s Mission Bay campus.

Keeping an eye on our map, we wandered past a small plaza of cafés for hungry medical and grad students and toward Koret Quad. Genentech Hall loomed over the grassy square in the distance. Although slightly intimidating from the outside, inside revealed an inviting space filled with comfy chairs, cool science-inspired art work and whiteboards used for friendly trivia games.

After realizing most labs and research facilities required key card access, we roamed around the many shared areas open to the public. While the rest of the city remained covered in fog, the sunshine-filled Mission Bay campus seemed to have not gotten the memo. UCSF Mission Bay features many outdoor spaces for students and faculty to relax between hours of research and studying.

We were also struck by the many public art pieces spread throughout campus. Although we didn’t know it at the time, the J. Michael Bishop art collection was created by former UCSF Chancellor Bishop in an effort to “create an environment that will be a credit and benefit to the entire community, a stimulating and pleasant place to work and visit, and a permanent legacy to the city,” according to the campus site (www.ucsf.edu). One of our favorite pieces included a structure that resembled monkey bars, but spelled out “HEAL” in its shadow.

Next we visited the Sandler Neurosciences Center, the Smith Cardiovascular Research building, and the Helen Diller Family Research Building. Although these research centers are only open to scientists and students, we were greatly impressed by their clear commitment to biomedical innovation and disease treatment.

Adriana admiring the view from the top steps of Genentech Hall

Continuing our exploration of the campus, we made our way to the J. David Gladstone Institutes. Immediately upon entering  we were greeted by a bust of the late J.David Gladstone, as well as all of the institutes’ mission statement and core values.

While attempting to gain a closer look at center’s mission statement, Adriana accidently knocked over a blank poster board for a symposium later in the afternoon. Thankfully Lindsay saved the day and caught it just before it hit the ground. Super intern!

Lindsay leaving her mark with an organic chemistry stick figure @ Genentech Hall

Not too far off from the UCSF campus is the FibroGen building at 409 Illinois Street, home of the Mission Bay Innovation center, where life science companies can utilize laboratory and office space while fostering community. As we made our way toward the Innovation Center, we passed the construction site of the massive, brand-new UCSF medical center. Construction of the facility began in 2010, and, as stated in large white letters on one side of the building, is scheduled to open on February 1st. In addition to the medical center, construction sites were prevalent in Mission Bay, showing the continuous growth of the life science community in the area.

We enjoyed our day of exploring and learning about Mission Bay. With all its inspiring sights, impressive facilities, and commitment to innovation, Mission Bay proudly exhibited itself as a core component of the Bay Area’s life science industry. It reminds us why its no wonder that San Francisco is one of the nation’s “Big 3” bioclusters.