University of California, San Diego
August 27, 2003
UCSD HEALTHCARE LEADERS AND STAFF
SCHOOL OF MEDICINE STUDENTS
SUBJECT: APPOINTMENT OF CLINICAL INVESTIGATION INSTITUTE DIRECTOR
It is my pleasure to announce that Gary S. Firestein, M.D., Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, has agreed to serve as the founding Director of the UCSD Clinical Investigation Institute (CII).
Dr. Firestein is an internationally recognized scientist and clinical investigator with extensive experience in the academic, industry and regulatory environments. He earned his undergraduate degree at Harvard and his M.D. at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, conducted his residency training at UCLA and completed fellowships in rheumatology and molecular biology. He joined the UCSD faculty in 1988, left to serve as Senior Director of Immunology Gensia, Inc. in 1992, and returned to UCSD in 1996. He has been Chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology since 1998.
The CII is a key component of the College of Integrated Life Sciences (COILS). COILS, which also includes the Institute for Molecular Medicine and the Academy of Clinican Scholars, is our Health Sciences initiative that focuses on enhancing pre-clinical disease-oriented research and translating the discoveries into novel therapeutics that improve human health. Under Dr. Firesteins direction, the CII will lead our efforts to test hypotheses in human subjects, providing a resource for investigators from UCSD and outside the campus. The CII will offer expertise in disease models, patient-oriented research, core facilities, education and clinical trials support to expedite the design and implementation of early proof-of-concept clinical studies trials.
Dr. Firestein is uniquely qualified to lead the CII and further strengthen UCSDs role in the bench-to-bedside continuum. A specialist in rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune diseases whose focus is novel therapeutic targets, Dr. Firestein is also founder and executive director of UCSD's Center for Innovative Therapy, which evaluates innovative therapies for immune-mediated inflammatory diseases. The goal of the Center is to discover new drug targets, facilitate their translation from research laboratory to patient care, and design and implement clinical trials of new therapies.
He is deputy editor of the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism, has written more than 170 papers and book chapters and is editor of the Kelley Textbook of Rheumatology. Dr. Firestein also chairs the Arthritis Advisory Committee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Please join me in congratulating Dr. Firestein. This exciting endeavor will provide an important new venue to enhance clinical and translational research collaborations among our faculty, support interactions with our colleagues in the private sector, and ultimately serve the patients who will benefit from improved therapies.