Claire Clelland ’05 | University of Portland

Claire Clelland ’05

Claire Clelland Neurologist, UC San Francisco School of Medicine

Majors: Biology and Philosophy

My hope is to cure diseases like Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s. I’m also interested in medical ethics on a practical level, such as how resources are allocated and how research impacts individuals and society. 

Learning about subjects such as philosophy, art, music, and literature during my time at UP encouraged me to become interested in the world and has led me to derive more meaning from my life. Philosophy and ethics also apply to everything I do as a doctor. I am now a physician at UC San Francisco, where I specialize in neurology and conduct research. I also sit on the medical ethics committee.

The faculty at the University of Portland helped me gain a solid foundation in the sciences and introduced me to the possibilities of research. These efforts prepared me well for graduate school. The mentorship I received opened a world of possibilities, including the pursuit of scholarship opportunities—including a Goldwater Scholarship, a Marshall Scholarship, and a Jack Kent Cooke graduate fellowship. These scholarships helped me complete an M.D. from UCLA and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UC San Diego.

I am continually appreciative of the broad education I received, and the opportunity to study abroad was one of the best experiences of my life. My undergraduate studies have made me a better scientist in countless ways and have helped me grapple with the ethical and moral issues that surround cutting-edge medical research.

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