Shaun Coughlin – Global Head of Cardiovascular and Metabolism at Novartis

Dear Colleagues,

As is being announced today at Novartis, Shaun Coughlin, MD, PhD, will be joining the biotech giant to become Global Head of Cardiovascular and Metabolism at Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He will start his new position on November 1.

We are sad to lose one of our most respected leaders, yet profoundly grateful for his decades of service and immeasurable contributions to our mission. Dr. Coughlin is an outstanding example of the personal qualities that collectively have propelled UCSF to the top: a relentless drive to push the boundaries of our knowledge, a deep commitment to improve health for our patients, and steadfast devotion in teaching and mentoring the next generation of physician-scientists.

Dr. Coughlin received undergraduate and graduate training at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MD from Harvard Medical School. After an internal medicine residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, he joined UCSF for a cardiology fellowship and postdoc in 1984. He became a faculty member here in 1986, director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute at UCSF in 1997, and Distinguished Professor of Cardiovascular Biology and Medicine in 2006.

His research discoveries revealed a mechanism by which proteases regulate cellular behaviors including a key mechanism that controls blood platelet activation and clot formation. This work led to a new medical therapy for preventing heart attacks and strokes and has been honored by the American Heart Association’s Basic Science Award in 2003 and its Research Achievement Award in 2014. Among his numerous other awards are the Bristol-Myers Squibb Cardiovascular Research Award and the Distinguished Career Award from the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis.

He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

CVRI Professor and Associate Director Brian Black, PhD, will be serving as interim director. A national search for a permanent new director will be initiated soon.

Shaun Coughlin’s impact on our institution has been invaluable. Please join me in thanking him for his service and wishing him the very best for his new career.


Talmadge E. King, Jr., MD
Dean, School of Medicine