Our History

Founded by John W. Severinghaus, MD, in 1958, the UCSF Hypoxia Research Laboratory is a leading center for the study of the effects of hypoxia on humans. The laboratory has focused on oxygen transport, oxygen measurement, and high-altitude physiology for more than 40 years. Studies done in San Francisco and at the University of California’s White Mountain Research Station represent some of the most important studies ever done on human adaptation to high altitude. We continue this interest in studies on control of breathing and adaptation to hypoxia in humans.

A major current activity of the laboratory is the evaluation of the accuracy of pulse oximetry. We have a continuing interest in pulse oximeter development and provide accuracy testing of pulse oximeters and related devices for industry.

At the present time, the Hypoxia Lab is also actively working to support the development of pulse oximeters and other non-invasive monitors that improve patients safety, with an emphasis on low and middle-income countries.

We are a completely independent university-based testing facility with no ties to pulse oximeter manufacturers.