Hao G. Nguyen MD, PhD

Hao G. Nguyen MD, PhD

Associate Professor in Residence; Urologic Oncology
Richard and Leilani Grinold Endowed Professorship in Urology


• BA, 1999, Molecular Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley
• MD, PhD Combined Degree, 2007, Boston University School of Medicine
• General Surgery and Urology Residency, 2013, University of California, Davis Medical Center
• Urologic Oncology Fellowship, 2015, University of California, San Francisco Medical Center


Hao Nguyen, MD, PhD received his undergraduate training from UC Berkeley, where he earned a degree in molecular cell biology in 1999. To further his training as a physician scientist, he then received the Dean Scholarship from Boston University School of Medicine to join their Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine MD-PhD program.  He was awarded first prize for his PhD dissertation works, investigating the role of defective chromosome segregation underlying cancer initiation.  In 2007, he concurrently earned an MD from the School of Medicine. He completed his General Surgery and Urologic Surgery training at the University of California, Davis, and subsequently continued at UCSF to complete a fellowship in Urologic Oncology under the guidance of Peter Carroll, MD, MPH and Maxwell Meng, MD.   At the end of his fellowship, Dr. Nguyen was recruited to join the faculty at UCSF department of urology, specializing in urologic oncology.  He is part of the multidisciplinary urologic oncology team of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, located at Mission Bay.  In 2015, Dr. Nguyen received the prestigious Department of Defense Physician training award to continue his research in understanding how the distinct ability of cancer cells to upregulate their stress response pathways upon oncogenic stress, chemotherapy or radiotherapy in order to evade cell death.  He hopes that his findings could result in new therapies to target these adaptive pathways.   His basic science research is under the mentorship of Davide Ruggero PhD.  In the start of the academic year in 2020, Dr. Nguyen earned his associate professorship position in urology.

Clinical Interests

Dr. Nguyen’s clinical interests include the early detection, diagnosis, and management of prostate cancer, kidney cancer, bladder cancer and other genitourinary malignancies. He performs open, robotic, laparoscopic, and endoscopic surgeries.  He is particularly interested in focal therapies to treat early stage prostate cancer, MRI fusion biopsy and using novel biomarkers and imaging technology in risk-stratifying prostate, renal, and bladder cancer.  He is an active member of the American Urological Association (AUA) and American Society of Clinical Oncology. 

Research Interests

Dr. Nguyen has authored over 25 peer-reviewed scientific articles and book chapters, and he has been invited to present his research findings at national conferences. His primary research focus is in elucidating the adaptive response pathways that prostate cancer cells use to evade cell death upon acquiring oncogenic lesions/stresses or even when they are under the selective pressure of chemotherapy or radiotherapy.  He currently studies the unfolded protein response (UPR) pathway using a mouse model of prostate cancer that recapitulated human prostate cancer.  The UPR is hyperactivated during the period of increase in global protein synthesis induced by oncogenic stress, hence allows cells to pause translation and to fold protein correctly and subsequently avoid cell death.  Cancer cells are known to up-regulate the UPR to escape oncogenic stress; hence blocking this adaptive response may slow down cancer progression.  Autophagy (self-eating) is another adaptive pathway that Dr. Nguyen studied, in which cancer cells activate to allow them to survive under nutrient deprived conditions or from chemo/radiotherapy.  These adaptive pathways are unique to cancer cells and hence a great opportunity for targeted therapies in patients with castrate resistant prostate cancer that failed hormonal and chemotherapy. 

Patient Contact

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1825 4th Street
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San Francisco, CA 94158

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University of California, San Francisco
Department of Urology, Mailcode 1695
550 16th Street, 6th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94143