Kimberly S. Topp, PT, PhD, FAAA

Professor and Chair, UCSF

Sexton Sutherland Endowed Chair in Human Anatomy, Department of Anatomy

Phone: (415) 476-9449
Mailing: UCSF, Box 0736, San Francisco, CA 94143


  • BS, Physical Therapy, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ, 1981
  • PhD, Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of California, Davis, CA, 1990
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Neurobiology University of California, San Francisco, CA 1990-1993



Dr. Kimberly Topp is Professor and Chair of the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science and Professor in the Department of Anatomy. She holds the Sexton Sutherland Endowed Chair in Human Anatomy from the UCSF Academy of Medical Educators. Her areas of expertise include anatomy and the application of anatomical knowledge to clinical problems and peripheral neuropathy research. She obtained her BS in Physical Therapy from Northern Arizona University and her PhD in Anatomy and Cell Biology from the University of California, Davis. After completing her post doctoral training in Neurobiology, Dr. Topp joined the UCSF faculty in 1993. She has received numerous awards including the Henry J. Kaiser Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2006, Fellow of the American Association of Anatomists in 2010, and Honorary Fellow of The Anatomical Society (Great Britain and Ireland) in 2015. Dr. Topp has held leadership positions in the American Association of Anatomists and American Association of Clinical Anatomists, and is the current President of the American Association of Anatomists.

Celebrating Dr. Topp


  • PT 200ABC Neuromusculoskeletal Anatomy
  • PT 202 Therapeutic Modalities
  • PT 207 Medical Screening for Physical Therapists
  • PT 400ABC Grand Rounds
  • IDS 100 Courses for Medical School Essential Core - Prologue, Organs, Metabolism and Nutrition, Infection Immunity and Inflammation, Methods Molecules and Malignancies, Life Cycle


  • Structure-function relationships of peripheral nerve; pathobiology and treatment of peripheral neuropathies
  • Application of research findings in the physical therapy clinical population
  • Anatomy education in physical therapy and medicine
  • Interprofessional education


Dr. Topp's areas of research interest are in structure-function relationships of peripheral nerve and in the application of research findings in the physical therapy clinical population. She has investigated chemotherapy-induced neuropathy in a rat model and human patients. She and colleagues have evaluated sub-clinical and overt sensorimotor neuropathy in study participants with breast cancer treated with taxanes. They documented the sensory neuropathy and measured the correlation between severity of neuropathy and quality of life, level of pain, and balance impairments. These studies are continuing in a funded collaboration with Dr. Christine Miaskowski at UCSF. With collaborator Dr. Benjamin Boyd, Dr. Topp investigated structure-function relationships in normal and injured peripheral nerve. Their published findings using human cadavers supported the use of limb positioning sequences in the physical therapy clinic to induce quantifiable nerve strain during evaluation of nerve dysfunction. They also completed an investigation of biomechanics of the sciatic nerve and related symptomatology in study participants with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Their findings are directly applicable in physical therapy care for this patient population. Dr. Topp's recent perspectives may be seen in the Journal of Hand Therapy, 2012 and Gray's Anatomy, 41st Edition, 2015.


  • Topp, K.S. Nerve Biomechanics. in Gray's Anatomy, 41st Ed. Elsevier Publishers. 2015.
  • Allen, D.D., Talavera, C., Baxter, S., Topp, K. Gaps between patients' reported current and preferred abilities versus clinicians' emphases during an episode of care: Any agreement? Qual Life Res. 24:1137-1143. 2015. (Epub in advance of publication; PMID: 25502091)
  • Smoot, G., Paul, S.M., Aouizerat, B.E., Elboim, C., Levine, J.D., Abrams, G., Hamolsky, D., Neuhaus, J., Schmidt, B., West, C., Topp, K., Miaskowski, C. Side of cancer does not influence limb volumes in women prior to breast cancer surgery. Lymphat. Res. Biol. 12:189-193. 2014. (PMID: 24834791)

  • Tubbs, R.S., Lobashevsky, A., Oakes, P., D'Antoni, A.V., Hattab, E., Topp, K., Loukas, M., Spinner, R. Meningeal relationships to the spinal nerves and rootlets: a gross, histological, and radiological study with application to intramural extra medullary spinal tumors. Childs Nerv. Syst. (Epub ahead of print; PMID: 25686899)

View the list on Pubmed


  • Henry J. Kaiser Award for Excellence in Teaching, UCSF School of Medicine, 2006
  • Commitment to Teaching Award, UCSF School of Medicine, 2006
  • Outstanding Service Award, Academy of Medical Educators, UCSF School of Medicine, 2006
  • Fellow of the American Association of Anatomists, 2010
  • Essential Core Teaching Award, Class of 2013, Outstanding Lecture Series, UCSF School of Medicine, 2010
  • Essential Core Teaching Award, Class of 2014, Outstanding Lecture, UCSF School of Medicine, 2011
  • Fellow (Honorary) of The Anatomical Society (Great Britain and Ireland), 2015