Univ. of California, San Francisco,
and Sonoma Biotherapeutics
Jeffrey A. Bluestone, Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and Sonoma Biotherapeutics, is the recipient of the 2020 AAI Excellence in Mentoring Award. Dr. Bluestone is a highly productive researcher in the field of T cell biology and has been selected for this award in recognition of his exceptional contributions to the next generation of scientists.
A vital part of Bluestone’s successful academic career has been his ability to mentor and inspire trainees. He has mentored more than 70 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, over 20 research associates, and 35-plus undergraduates. Former lab members have been successful in attaining faculty positions at numerous universities and research institutes, including the University of Chicago; Washington University in St. Louis; Emory University; Northwestern University; University of Wisconsin, Madison; Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; University of California, Davis; University of Alabama, Birmingham; and University of Maryland Medical Center.
Other mentees have attained success in industry, with leadership positions at companies such as Amgen, BluebirdBio, Celgene, Dauntless Pharmaceuticals, and Inovio Pharmaceuticals.
Bluestone exemplifies the research excellence, academic rigor, and skilled written and verbal communication that he expects of his trainees. According to Maria-Luisa Alegre, professor, University of Chicago, who worked with him as a graduate student, Bluestone carefully prepares his lectures, “illustrating the importance he ascribes to teaching and mentoring.”
He teaches his students how to identify the key observations from a publication and how to approach critical thinking and creative design of future directions. He is also patient in letting people come up with their own interpretations of data, while at the same time providing constructive feedback in the context of the published literature. Alegre states that during her time in his lab, Bluestone “spent many hours showing lab members how to write abstracts, papers, and grants at a time when courses on these topics did not exist at annual conferences.”
Bluestone takes pride in the scientific development of trainees, and he acknowledges his trainees as experts in specific research areas. Alegre posits that this approach to mentoring fosters continued excellence in a particular scientific research domain.
Raphael Hirsch, chair, Department of Pediatrics, UCSF, feels fortunate to have had Bluestone as a mentor during his early formative years, asserting that “he gave me advice, while letting me know that he trusted my abilities.” Hirsch calls his former mentor “a brilliant scientist and deep thinker” and says that Bluestone always gave credit to the work Hircsh and others did in his lab. After Hirsch obtained his first faculty appointment, Bluestone provided feedback on his first grants, which were subsequently funded.
Bluestone’s continued support of previous lab members demonstrates that he is invested in future generations of immunologists and that he values mentoring as an important pillar of academic success.
Bluestone received his Ph.D. from the Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences. He started his independent career at the National Cancer Institute before moving to the University of Chicago, Ben May Institute for Cancer Research, as an associate professor, ultimately serving as the director from 1995 to 2000. In 1999 Bluestone became the founding director of the NIAID Immune Tolerance Network, a position he held until 2010.
In 2000 Bluestone joined the UCSF faculty as the director of the Diabetes Center and Metabolic Research Unit. Among the many leadership positions Bluestone has held at UCSF, he served as executive vice chancellor and provost from 2010 to 2015. He currently holds the appointment of A.W. and Mary Margaret Clausen Distinguished Professor.
He served as president and CEO of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy from 2015 to 2019. He assumed his position as CEO and president of Sonoma Biotherapeutics in 2019. He is a Distinguished Fellow of AAI and an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine.
Bluestone has been a member of AAI since 1982. His service to AAI includes terms as an associate, section, and deputy editor for The Journal of Immunology. He has served as a major symposium chair and speaker at AAI meetings and as a member of the AAI Finance, Nominating, and Publications committees. He has also served as a faculty member for the AAI Introductory Course in Immunology.