Writing for UCSF Neurosciences was one of the most challenging and rich experiences of my career. I spent numerous hours with a dozen of their researchers, including two Nobel Laureates, in order to understand the nature of their work and the scope of their impact.
The assignment, in partnership with Elixir Design, was to create a suite of communications that would adequately communicate the complexity and import of their work to a very select group of elite donors.
Among other materials, we created a booklet that described the contribution these remarkable people make to the world. I also wrote several explorations on specific and temporal topics to be placed in a pocket for a particular donor. These are people who think big about very complicated things. The language had to illuminate complex concepts, while also remaining accessible.
We call it emergence.
It’s shorthand for an array of parallel but seemingly distinct discoveries, growing at an ever-increasing pace until spilling over into exponentially greater breakthroughs. We believe it is the defining characteristic of the neurosciences at UCSF.
These are insights that will change the world: how we ease suffering, heal our sick, and age with health and grace.
Some of the greatest minds of our time have gathered here, drawn by the collective and relentless intelligence that sets apart our community of risk-takers, academic entrepreneurs, and Nobel Laureates.
Together, they are breaching the boundaries of what is knowable about the human brain.
Not only in how we understand and even enhance the healthy brain, but in our capacity to treat
problems like autism, depression, dementia, stroke, MS, and others, issues that impact just about every family in America.
These discoveries don’t emerge in the lab, or at the bedside, but in the convergence of the two. They arise in the feedback cycles between science and patient, in a state-of-the- art environment like Mission Bay, where scientists, engineers, and clinicians cross paths and ideas cross pollinate.
The future of neuroscience is being irrefutably and dramatically formed here, at the uncommon intersection of culture, collaboration, and proximity, set in the global heart of high technology.
What was inaccessible is becoming revealed. The path is made clear to prevent, treat, and even cure the disorders that diminish the lives of millions of people.
What happens when the power of the human spirit meets with the genius of the human mind? Families get their loved ones back. And for millions, life begins again.