The Drug Research Unit (DRU) is a biomedical research and training program in which faculty, postdoctoral fellows, residents, and students carry out drug research, with emphasis on pharmacokinetics (PK) and pharmacodynamics (PD).


The DRU aims to provide:

  • Research services through the development, validation, and application of innovative or specialized pharmacologic assays, including small volume, filter paper, and intracellular assays.
  • Scientific leadership and laboratory resources for domestic and international research, including:
    • PK and PD studies of:
      • Factors predictive of therapeutic and toxic effects in support of translational research.
      • Distinct populations including women, pregnant women, and children.
      • Novel compounds or interventions including those for HIV, tuberculosis (TB), malaria, and cancer.
    • Drug-drug interaction studies for malaria, HIV, and TB, as especially relevant for international populations.
  • Education and outreach through:
    • Mentoring and training of junior investigators and fellows in pharmacologic research located at UCSF and in countries including Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Sweden.
    • Consultation with research collaborators, junior scientists, and community members to assist in the interpretation and comprehension of pharmacologic research findings.


Areas of expertise include:

  • Clinical pharmacology research for HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, oncology, and bacterial infections
  • Clinical trial design
  • Pharmacokinetic and statistical analyses
  • Analytical methodology

Whom we serve

Drug Research Unit analytical services are available to the UCSF scientific community, other academic institutions, and the pharmaceutical industry.


The DRU is funded through National Institutes of Health (NIH) R01-based research and serves as a core for the NIH Division of AIDS (DAIDS)-funded AIDS Clinical Trials Network and Center for AIDS Research.


The DRU is located at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital (ZSFGH) in approximately 2,300 square feet (or 214 square meters) of renovated laboratory and administrative space. Clinical trials are conducted in the General Clinical Research Center, San Francisco General Hospital, Department of Medicine.