Conditions Governing Access
Scope and Contents
University of California, San Francisco Archives & Special Collections
Title: J. Michael Bishop papers
Bishop, J. Michael
Identifier/Call Number: MSS.2007.21
Identifier/Call Number: 5
142 Linear Feet
(112 cartons, 2 boxes, 1 over-sized box, 1 flat file drawer)
Date (inclusive): 1958-2016
Abstract: Contains the laboratory research notebooks and professional papers of Nobel Prize-winning scientist and UCSF professor and
chancellor, Dr. J. Michael Bishop, dated 1960-2008. Material relates to microbiology and Bishop's work on cancer and genetics.
Language of Material:
J. Michael Bishop papers, MSS 2007-21. Archives and Special Collections, University of California, San Francisco.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research. The UCSF Archives and Special Collections policy places access restrictions on material with
privacy issues for a specific time period from the date of creation. Restrictions are noted at the series level. This collection
will be reviewed for sensitive content upon request. Contact the UCSF Archivist for information on access to restricted files.
Copyright has not been assigned to the Library and Center for Knowledge Management. All requests for permission to publish
or quote from material must be submitted in writing to the UCSF Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of
the Library and Center for Knowledge Management as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply
permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.
The collection was donated to the UCSF Archives in 2007 by Grace Stauffer, a staff member of UCSF and J. Michael Bishop. Additional
material donated by J. Michael Bishop in 2009. Exhibit files added to the collection in 2015.
J. Michael Bishop was born February 22, 1936, in York, Pennsylvania. He completed his undergraduate degree at Gettysburg College,
majoring in chemistry, and eventually chose medicine as a career. He entered Harvard Medical School, became interested in
basic science, and began research in animal virology, where he "learned that the viruses of animal cells were ripe for study
with the tools of molecular biology." He received his M.D. in 1962, and in the next two years he completed his internship
and residency at Massachusetts General Hospital. In 1964 he was appointed postdoctoral fellow in the Research Associate Training
Program at the National Institutes of Health. At NIH he pursued virology research with his mentor, Leon Levintow, and spent
a year doing research in Hamburg, Germany. He then chose to accept a faculty position at UCSF, he recalls, "because the opportunities
seemed so much greater: I would have been a mere embellishment on the East Cost; I was genuinely needed at San Francisco."
He arrived at UCSF in 1968, hired as an assistant professor of microbiology and immunology and continued work in virology
with Leon Levintow, who had joined the UCSF faculty two years earlier. Bishop became a full professor in 1972, and in 1981
was appointed director of the G. W. Hooper Research Foundation. In the mid 1980s he also became director of the Program in
Biological Sciences (PIBS), a pathbreaking interdisciplinary program in graduate education.
As he developed his research program, Bishop began to study retroviruses, and utilized reverse transcriptase to explore viral
DNA. In 1970, Harold E. Varmus joined Bishop as a postdoctoral fellow, and Bishop recalls, "Our relationship evolved rapidly
to one of coequals, and the result was surely greater than the sum of the two parts." For the next two decades Bishop and
Varmus identified and clarified the process of how Rous sarcoma virus transforms normal cellular genes (proto-oncogenes) into
cancer genes (oncogenes). In 1989, Bishop and Varmus were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery
that growth regulating genes in normal cells can malfunction and initiate the abnormal growth processes of cancer. Bishop
is the recipient of numerous awards in addition to the Nobel Prize, including the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Biomedical
Research and the American Cancer Society National Medal of Honor. In 2003, he was awarded the National Medal of Science.
On July 1, 1998, J. Michael Bishop became eighth chancellor of UCSF, and presided over what would become the largest academic
biomedical expansion in the nation-the creation of the UCSF Mission Bay campus. Mission Bay formally opened in 2003 and by
2008 included four research buildings (Genentech Hall, Rock Hall, Byers Hall, the Diller Cancer Research Building), and the
William J. Rutter Center. Bishop retired as UCSF Chancellor in August 2009, with the distinction of longest term of service
in that office.
Scope and Contents
The collection contains the laboratory research notebooks and professional papers of Nobel Prize-winning scientist and UCSF
professor and chancellor, Dr. J. Michael Bishop. Material relates to his work on cancer, retroviruses, and oncogenes, and
includes drafts of his autobiographical book, How to Win the Nobel Prize: An Unexpected Life in Science. Also included are
publication records including article drafts, reprints, and related correspondence, administrative records, clippings, teaching
materials, Nobel Prize medals, photographs, and material from an exhibit about Bishop.
The collection is arranged in twelve series: Series I. Writings and publication files; Series II. Teaching files; Series III.
Laboratory research notebooks and binders; Series IV. Working files; Series V. Scrapbook and artifact; Series VI. Exhibit
files; Series VII. Committee files; Series VIII. Correspondence; IX. Postdoctoral files; X. Meetings and Travel files; XI.
Lectures and Remarks; XII. Photographs, Slides, and Audio/Visual Material.
Additional accruals are expected.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
University of California, San Francisco
Cancer -- Research