Gary S. Firestein, MD, Director of the CTRI, has assumed the position of Chair of the UC BRAID Executive Committee. UC BRAID is the University of California Biomedical Research, Acceleration, Integration & Development consortium, a collaboration among the five UC campuses (Davis, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Irvine, and San Diego) that have Health Sciences. These campuses are also all recipients of CTSAs—Clinical & Translational Science Awards—highly competitive 5-year grants issued by the NIH to elite universities to support research that improves human health.
Dr. Firestein, who is Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean, Translational Medicine at UC San Diego, led UC San Diego’s successful effort to obtain its CTSA. Under Dr. Firestein’s direction, the CTRI has completed its third year of CTSA funding, having made great strides in developing the clinical and IT infrastructure needed for translational research, among other achievements. Dr. Firestein joined the faculty at UCSD School of Medicine as Assistant Professor of Medicine in 1988. Four years later, he was recruited by Gensia, Inc. to be its Director of Immunology. In 1996, he returned to UCSD where he served as chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology from 1998 until 2010. Dr. Firestein’s research focuses on the pathogenesis and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). He was among the first to map the cytokine profile of RA and demonstrate the dominance of macrophage and fibroblast products. These studies were crucial to the development of highly effective anti-TNF and other anti-cytokine therapies for RA. His research and leadership in the rheumatology field have resulted in over 300 articles and chapters, several books and editorships, and earned him numerous national and international honors.
A $700,000 award was recently obtained by University of California Biomedical Research, Acceleration, Integration & Development (UC BRAID) www.ucbraid.org . The award was provided by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies in the University of California Office of the President for UC BRAID’s proposal “Catalyzing, accelerating, and reducing barriers for health research across the UC system”. The two-year award, which funded on December 1, 2012, supports five main projects: (1) Contracting: Faculty Research Consulting Program; (2) Contracting: Process improvement; (3) Institutional Review Board: Streamlining of IRB review process for clinical studies involving stem cell therapies; (4) IRB: Expanding the use and enhancing the capacity of systemwide MOU and the web-based MOU tool; and (5) Administrative Support: Overseeing and coordinating BRAID initiatives.