Milestones & Discoveries

Year Milestones Discoveries
  • Dr. Elias Cooper organizes the West's first medical school with a charter from the University of the Pacific. Upstairs above Dr Cooper's office on Mission Street at Third in San Francisco, six physicians teach 13 students. In six years, 28 men complete the 18-week course. The fee of each professor was $30 payable in advance, matriculation fee of $5 paid but once, with a graduation fee of $50.
  • Cooper’s nephew, Dr. Levi Cooper Lane and his colleagues launch Cooper Medical College at Sacramento and Webster with Dr Lane's own money.
  • Stanford University opens.
  • The Lane Hospital Training School for Nurses was inaugurated in 1895, and later became the Stanford University School of Nursing before eventually closing its doors in 1974. Read More »
  • One-fourth of the Cooper Medical School (predecessor to Stanford University School of Medicine Class of 1899 were women. The graduating class also included Ray Lyman Wilbur, future dean of the Medical Department of Stanford (1911-1916), as well as President of Stanford University (1916-1943). More about women and Stanford Medicine»
  • Stanford University accepts the Cooper Medical College, and its properties and equipment in San Francisco, as a grant from the Board of Directors of the College. The College becomes the Medical Department of Stanford University. Some basic science courses are taught on the campus and others in the San Francisco facilities where the clinical program continues. More 1908 events »
  • The first class of students enters the Medical Department of Stanford University in September 1909, and the last class of Cooper Medical College students graduates in May 1912. During this three year interval the Cooper Medical College is phased out to be superseded by the Stanford Medical Department, now the School of Medicine. Professor John Maxwell Stillman (Chemistry) is appointed as the first Executive Head (Dean) of the Stanford Medical Department. (1909-1911).
  • Dr. Ray Lyman Wilbur (1875-1949) becomes Executive Head (Dean) of the Medical Department of Stanford University. He serves as Executive Head (Dean) of the Stanford Medical Department (1911-1916) until elected President of Stanford University (1916-1943).
  • Cooper Medical College is phased out with the award of the M.D. degree to a final class of 36 students on May 9th.
  • Lane Hospital with all of Cooper Medical College properties is conveyed to Leland Stanford Jr. University on July 1st.
  • Lane Medical Library, the finest medical collection west of Chicago, is dedicated on November 3rd. It moves into an imposing new building at the corner of Webster and Sacramento Streets in San Francisco, construction financed with funds advanced by Stanford University and a gift from Cooper Medical College reserves.
  • The Stanford Hospital Clinic receives 70,000 visits in the year ending 30 June 1913.
  • Dr. William OphĂĽls (1871-1933) succeeds Dr. Wilbur as Dean and serves from 1916 to 1933.
  • Stanford University Hospital, constructed on Clay Street (San Francisco) adjoining the Lane Hospital, is opened to meet the need for additional beds and clinical teaching facilities. The complex consisting of Lane Hospital and Stanford University Hospital is referred to as Stanford University Hospitals.
  • Stanford Home for Convalescent Children ("Con Home") is founded.
  • Dr. Loren Roscoe Chandler (1895-1982) succeeds Dr. OphĂĽls as Dean and serves from 1933 to 1953.
  • Mrs. Lucie Stern finances construction of the Stern Research Building across Clay Street from Stanford Hospital.
  • Stanford's Board of Trustees decides to move the Medical School from San Francisco to the campus in Palo Alto.
  • Dr. Windsor Cutting (1907-1972) is appointed Dean 1953 -- 1957)..
  • First use in Western hemisphere of linear accelerator to treat cancer
  • Public fundraising campaign for the Medical Center announced by the Honorable Hebert Hoover.
  • Dr. Robert H. Alway is appointed Acting Dean in 1957 and Dean in 1958. He serves until 1964.  
  • Stanford Hospitals’s School of Nursing in San Francisco closes.
  • Palo Alto-Stanford Hospital Center (School of Medicine, Stanford Clinics and Palo Alto-Stanford Hospital) opens on the Campus and the teaching, research and clinical programs in San Francisco are transferred to these new facilities. Most physicians remain in San Francisco, keeping clinics and wards open with volunteer support.
  • New talent scouted including: pediatrician Norman Kretchmer (Cornell); Nobel Prize-winning Arthur Kornberg (along with almost his entire lab from Washington University); Nobel Prize-winning geneticist Joshua Lederberg (University of Wisconsin); immunologist Halsted Holman (Rockefeller University); hand surgeon Robert Chase (Yale); and psychiatrist David Hamburg (NIH).
Year Milestones Discoveries
  • First kidney transplant in California
  • First neonatal intensive care unit to allow parent visitation
  • Demonstration of electrical stimulation of auditory nerve in deaf patients, paving the way for cochlear implants
  • Dr. Sidney Raffel serves as as Acting Dean (1964-1965)
  • First successful clinical application of laser photocoagulation to treat detached retina
  • Development of the first sleep apnea monitor for newborn infants
  • Dr. Robert J. Glaser is appointed Dean and Vice President for Medical Affairs (1965 -- 1970).
  • Development of technique for extracting anti-hemophilic globulin, the blood fraction needed to prevent bleeding in hemophiliacs
  • First synthesis of bi`ologically active DNA in test tube
  • Norman Shumway and his surgical team perform the first successful adult human heart transplant in the United States
  • Stanford University purchases the City of Palo Alto's entire interest in the Hospital properties and facilities and its membership in the Hospital corporation. The hospital is renamed Stanford University Hospital.
  • Discovery that insulin resistance is the principal physiologic characteristic of mild type-II diabetes and obesity
Year Milestones Discoveries
  • Children's facility is renamed Children's Hospital at Stanford in recognition of its expanded roles in teaching and research.
  • Dr. John L. Wilson is Acting Dean (1970-1971)
  • Discovery of RNA priming of DNA synthesis
  • Dr. Clayton Rich is appointed Dean and Vice President for Medical Affairs to (1971 - 1978).
  • First multicenter trial to demonstrate that lowering cholesterol levels prevents heart disease
  • First construction of a recombinant DNA molecule containing DNA from two different species
  • Discovery of a new class of immune response genes, suggesting for the first time that people may have predictable susceptibility to certain diseases
  • First U.S. trial of community-wide health education for preventing heart disease
  • First expression of a foreign gene implanted in bacteria by recombinant DNA methods
  • Stanford University School of Nursing closes its doors
  • Isolation of genome -- genetic blueprint -- of a virus that causes hepatitis B and a common form of liver cancer
  • Discovery of link between exercise and increased “good” (HDL) cholesterol levels
  • Discovery of dynorphin, a brain chemical 200 times more powerful than morphine
  • Dr. Lawrence G. Crowley holds the position of Acting Dean (1979-1981)
Year Milestones Discoveries
  • Paul Berg, PhD, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Biochemistry, shared the 1980 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his fundamental studies of the biochemistry of nucleic acids, with particular regard to recombinant DNA. More about Berg »
  • Children’s Hospital at Stanford opens a new wing, consolidating all pediatric outpatient services of Stanford University Medical Center.
  • First creation of human hybridoma cell line
  • First successful human combined heart/lung transplant in the world (fourth attempted worldwide)
  • First report of successful use of monoclonal antibodies to treat cancer
  • Stanford University Hospital embarks on a major modernization program to upgrade and expand facilities; agreement is signed with Children's Hospital at Stanford for consolidation of all pediatric services in the new Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.
  • Dr. Dominick P. Purpura serves as Dean and Associate Vice President for Medical Affairs (1982- 1984).
  • Development with UC-San Diego of the first human monoclonal antibody for treating septic shock
  • Isolation of pure hematopoietic stem cells from mice
  • Isolation of a gene coding for part of the T-cell receptor, a key to the immune system’s function
  • Dr. David Korn appointmented Dean (1984 -- 1995).
  • Development of an animal model for studying the human immune system
  • Stanford University Hospital opens new wing, the first major modernization project since 1959.
  • Beckman Center for Molecular and Genetic Medicine opens.
  • Discovery of the “homing receptor,” which guides white blood cells into the peripheral lymph nodes
Year Milestones Discoveries
  • Discovery of “off-switch” for genetic reproduction in bacteria
  • Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford opens.
  • Development of a genetically engineered vaccine to enhance patients’ immunological response against B-cell lymphoma
  • Richard M. Lucas Center for Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy and Imaging opens.
  • Discovered the gene underlying a group of diseases called the demyelinating peripheral neuropathies in which the protective covering on nerves breaks down and the nerves are unable to function properly
  • Stanford University Clinic opens new outpatient building on Blake Wilbur Drive.
  • Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences opens new building on Quarry Road.
  • Discovery of a protein that appears to be a root cause of type-I diabetes; prevention of the disease in mouse experiments
  • First clinical trial testing methods for preventing eating disorders in adolescents
  • First demonstration that lifestyle changes and drug therapy decrease heart attack rates and slows progression of atherosclerosis in coronary arteries
  • First functional image using time-resolved optics
  • Creation of Stanford Health Services through the merger of Stanford University Hospital and Stanford University Clinic.
  • Development of a technique that enables researchers to toggle genes on and off in experimental animals
  • Development of the new diagnostic instrument for rapid bedside screening of hemolysis in jaundiced newborns
  • Development of the microarray technology that allows researchers to see at once which genes of the thousands present in a cell are switched “on”
  • Dr. Eugene A. Bauer appointed Dean (1995 -- 2001)
  • First optical imaging of infection in vivo
  • Discovery that the p53 protein, known to be involved in controlling cancerous tumors, works as an “emergency brake” on cancer development
  • Discovery of a mutated gene that causes a childhood form of inherited epilepsy, followed by the development of a genetic model of the disease in mice two years later
  • Discovery that mutations in a single gene are responsible for the most common form of skin cancer in humans
  • First optical imaging of gene expression in vivo
  • The University of California-San Francisco Medical Center and UCSF/Mount Zion Medical Center merge with Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital to create UCSF Stanford Health Care, a private nonprofit organization.
  • Completion of a multicenter trial showing that standard chemotherapy for most children with early-stage non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma can be safely reduced
  • Discovery of a genetic mutation that causes narcolepsy, a disabling sleep disorder affecting humans and animals
  • Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital return to independent status with the end of the two-year merger with UCSF Medical Center.
  • First experimental demonstration that limiting children’s television use prevents excess weight gain
  • First clinical trial of bupropion, the antidepressant known as Wellbutrin, and nicotine replacement for smoking cessation in adolescents
Year Milestones Discoveries
  • First use of gene expression profiling to distinguish cancer sub-types Solution of the structure of the RNA polymerase protein, a pivotal molecule that copies genes from DNA to RNA
  • Discovery of hereditary arthritis gene
  • Center for Clinical Sciences Research (CCSR) building opens.
  • First use of gene expression profiling to distinguish cancer sub-types
  • Participation in the successful international effort to complete the human genome sequencing project
  • Dr. Philip A. Pizzo appointed Dean (2001 -- present).
  • Discovery of molecular mechanisms that account for failure of regeneration in the central nervous system
  • Identification of a novel gene family involved in asthma
  • First use of gene expression profiling to predict cancer outcomes
  • The Stanford Institute for Cancer/Stem Cell Biology and Medicine, a multidisciplinary effort to develop novel treatments for cancer and other diseases, is created.
  • First use of RNAi to switch off genes in mic
  • Discovery that training exercises can physically change the way the brain is wired
  • Discovery that Wnt genes, first discovered as critical genes in cancer, are also critical regulators of stem cell development
  • The James Clark Center opens as the new home for Stanford’s Bio-X program.
  • Discovery of obestatin, a hormone that suppresses appetite
  • Andrew Fire, Professor in the Departments of Pathology and of Genetics, shared the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discoveries related to RNA interference.
  • Roger Kornberg, Professor in the Department of Structural Biology, won the 2006 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in understanding how DNA is converted into RNA, a process known as transcription.
  • Stanford University School of Medicine celebrates 100 years of excellence.

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