Busy UCSF Researcher Finds Time for Fitness at Mission Bay


By Robert Hood on March 06, 2020

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Heather Young, UCSF Fitness & Recreation

For a busy researcher like Dr. Romain Pacaud, a postdoctoral scholar at UCSF’s Helen Diller Cancer Research Building at Mission Bay, the convenience of working near the Bakar Fitness Center at UCSF Mission Bay is a blessing.

Pacaud is studying epigenetic drug design and use in the regulation of cancer. He works in Pamela Munster’s lab which is exploring new compounds and strategies to fight cancer.

“As a postdoc, I spend a lot of time in the lab and it can be difficult to manage my workout schedule. Having the gym directly on campus helps me manage my time. I can come to the lab early or stay late to compensate for the time I work out. I also believe that the time in the gym helps me clear my mind and allows me to think straight, which, in turn, helps me do my job.”

When Pacaud moved to San Francisco nearly three years ago, he started playing basketball at the gym with friends. “My friends were going to Bakar and I was living in student housing at Mission Bay, so it was convenient. I was surprised the gym had so much to offer such as squash, a large variety of fitness classes, and the swimming pool. It’s pretty rare to find all of those options at one fitness center.”

Pacaud also enjoys the P90X and GRIT athletic conditioning classes at Bakar. “I like them because they focus on cardio, which is the main area I’m trying to improve. I also appreciate that you get a full-body workout with different exercises, so it doesn’t get boring. I like the classes because they are changing all the time and I get to work out with other people which helps me push my limits.”

The 40- to 50-minute classes also fit perfectly into Pacaud’s busy research schedule. “They really help me release all of the tension and stress that I accumulate during the day. I can clear my mind and feel better before I go back to the lab.”

Pacaud said he would recommend the fitness center to other researchers on campus. “If you want to challenge yourself and you are looking for a fun workout, these classes are perfect. The instructors lead you through the class and you get a full body workout without having to worry about which exercises to do. It’s also motivating to workout with other people and it’s a good way to make friends.”