Nobel Laureates To Teach Public During Mini Medical School

February 13, 2002
News Office: Twink Stern (415) 502-6397

UCSF kicks off its Mini Medical School IV in April with a new six-week series of lectures every Wednesday from April 3 to May 8 focusing on the theme "learn and discover." This year, two internationally known UCSF Nobel Laureates in Medicine will teach the first and last classes.

Chancellor J. Michael Bishop will open the Mini Medical School IV lectures on April 3 with "Cancer: New Hope for the Future" and Dr. Stanley Prusiner, UCSF professor of neurology and director, UCSF Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases, will close the program on Wednesday, May 8 with "Mad Cow: People with Dementia and Therapeutic Approaches to Prion Disease."

Mini Medical School is open to the general public and designed for people who want to learn more about science and the intricate workings of the human body.

The course will meet from 7 to 9 p.m. on the UCSF campus in Cole Hall at 513 Parnassus Ave. Each weekly class includes a one-hour lecture followed by a question-and-answer session.

Participants also have the option of signing up for "elective" classes on Saturday, April 20, which feature one-hour visits to various UCSF Medical Center units as well as campus research and computer labs.

"Mini Med is structured to approximate some of the core learning that health science students experience in their first two years of study," said Allan Basbaum, UCSF professor and chair of anatomy who also serves as Mini Med course director and series moderator. "We hope it gives members of our community the opportunity to see and hear what goes on every day in our classrooms and to become better educated health consumers."

Besides the two Nobel laureates, Mini Med faculty will include some of the best UCSF teachers and scientists who are passionate about their work including some who have received teaching awards. The faculty will communicate to the participants in a simple, straightforward way and will discuss the latest findings in health sciences research and patient care.

Participants are not required to do homework, write papers or take exams. Those who attend the complete series will receive a certificate of completion. Tuition for the course is $50. Parking in the UCSF campus garage is $3 per session.

UCSF first offered the public education course in fall 1999 to a sold-out audience.

Over the years the courses have covered a variety of topics. Space is limited to 400, so early registration is encouraged.

For registration information, call the UCSF Public Affairs office at (415) 502-6397 or email For more information about UCSF, visit the website at

Mini Medical School IV is supported in part by an unrestricted grant from Elan Pharmaceuticals.

A complete schedule for UCSF Mini Medical School IV classes follows: April 3: Chancellor J. Michael Bishop, UCSF professor of medicine, will present "Cancer: New Hope for the Future."

April 10: Dr. Nancy Ascher, UCSF professor and chair of surgery, presents "Spare Parts That Change Lives: An Overview of Transplantation."

April 17: Allan Basbaum, UCSF professor and chair of anatomy, presents "The Bane of Pain is Mainly in the Brain."

April 20: Elective Saturday. More than 12 electives to choose from, including visits to * One Stop for Senior Health Care: the UCSF Lakeside Senior Medical Center and specialty health care for older adults in the outpatient geriatric clinic; * Microbes: Up Close and Personal: the microbiology teaching laboratory where students can see cultures of bacteria, fungi and viruses; * The Who, What and Where of Tests: students will learn about diagnostic lab tests their doctors order-and why; * Educating the Patient Via the Web: hands-on session in the UCSF Library computer lab, focusing on Internet resources with reliable health care information designed for patient use; * Laser Light Show: how lasers are used for precise removal of dental decay and for treating teeth to be resistant to acid attack; * Eye-Opening View of Refractive Surgery: how lasers treat nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Visit the Beckman Vision Center at UCSF to see the newest technology and a demonstration of equipment used for LASIK surgery.

April 24: Dr. Toby Maurer, UCSF assistant professor of dermatology, presents "Dermatology: It's Not Only Skin Deep."

May 1: Dr. Anthony Dobson, UCSF assistant professor, and Dr. Robert Taylor, UCSF professor and director of the Center for Reproductive Sciences, present "When Sperm Meets Egg: An Update on Reproductive Medicine." Both professors are in the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences.

May 8: Dr. Stanley Prusiner, UCSF professor of neurology and director of the UCSF Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases, presents "Mad Cow, People with Dementia, and Therapeutic Approaches to Prion Diseases."

This news release has been modified for the Web site