Leadership Team of the CTRI

Gary S. Firestein, MD, Director of CTRI

Gary S. Firestein, MD, Director of CTRI
Professor of Medicine at UC San Diego
Dean and Associate Vice Chancellor of Translational Medicine at UC San Diego

transmed@ucsd.edu
Phone: (858) 822-3824

Gary S. Firestein, MD is Director of the Clinical and Translational Research Institute and the Dean and Associate Vice Chancellor of Translational Medicine at UC San Diego. 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 Director of Immunology where he supervised drug discovery efforts focusing on the potential role of purines in inflammation. 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 interest focuses on the pathogenesis and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. He was among the first to map the cytokine profile of RA and demonstrate the dominance of macrophage and fibroblast products. These studies played a pivotal role in the development of highly effective anti-TNF and other anti-cytokine therapies for RA. In 1998, Dr. Firestein received the Carol-Nachman Prize, which is an international award given for outstanding contributions to rheumatology research. In 2006 and 2009, he received the Arthritis Foundation Lee C. Howley Sr Prize for Arthritis Research and the American College of Rheumatology Distinguished Investigator Award, respectively. Dr. Firestein received the Arthritis Foundation's Jane Wyman Humanitarian Award in 2010 for contributions to rheumatology. He has been elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians.

Dr. Firestein has written over 300 articles and chapters and has edited or written several books. He served as the Deputy Editor of Arthritis & Rheumatism and is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the Kelley Textbook of Rheumatology. He was chairperson of the FDA Arthritis Advisory Committee and has served on the Board of Directors of the ACR Research and Education Foundation, on the ACR Committee on Research, and on the Arthritis Foundation Research Committee. He currently is a member of the Board of Directors of the Veteran's Medical Research Foundation and serves on the NIAMS Advisory Council.

View Dr. Firestein's Bio Page (Elsevier Authors)

CTRI Fall 2013, Presentation by Dr. Gary Firestein

CTRI in 30 Minutes, Presentation 2012 by Dr. Gary Firestein


David Boyle

David Boyle
Co-Director of CTRI Translational Research Technology (TRT) Division
CTRI Executive Committee Member

dboyle@ucsd.edu
Phone: 858) 822-0784

Since joining the CTRI leadership team in 2010, David Boyle, along with Translational Research Technology (TRT) co-director Paul Mills, has guided the TRT Division and transformed it into a one-stop shop of flexible laboratory-based services for translational studies. Under his leadership, the TRT laboratories have provided services for 99 biomarker projects, performed more than 18,000 biomarker assays, and processed more than 19,000 biosamples. In the past two years, Boyle has been instrumental in creating novel programs that integrate services to support molecular methods in clinical trials. He also oversaw the creation of the CTRI-Cancer Center Biorepository, which is among seven individual biorepositories for UC San Diego investigators hosted by TRT, and the Rady-UC San Diego breast milk research repository. He collaborates with our partners on campus and beyond, including the Moores Cancer Center, Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego, and the San Diego Blood Bank. He is key personnel at UC San Diego on the UC San Francisco subaward for biorepositories, "Engaging University of California Stakeholders for Biorespository Research." A major focus is applying rigorous criteria for assay development and validation to small solid tissue samples in a clinical trial setting.

David Boyle is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology at UC San Diego. His research has focused on inflammation of joint tissue, the role of the fibroblast-like synoviocyte and the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis. He is an internationally recognized researcher in the development and application of biomarker analysis to clinical research, in particular, synovial pathology in rheumatoid arthritis.


Christina Chambers, PhD, MPH

Christina Chambers, PhD, MPH
Professor of Pediatrics at UC San Diego and Director of Clinical Research, Department of Pediatrics at UC San Diego and Rady Children's Hospital
CTRI Executive Committee Member

chchambers@ucsd.edu
Phone: (858) 246-1704

Christina Chambers, PhD, MPH, joined the CTRI Executive Committee in 2012. Dr. Chambers is a professor of pediatrics at UC San Diego and director of Clinical Research for the Department of Pediatrics at UC San Diego and Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego (RCHSD). She has been instrumental in smoothing the interactions between researchers at UC San Diego and Rady Children's researchers, working closely with CTRI's Mark Wallace, and in establishing a research-only breast milk biorepository at UCSD/Rady Children's, along with CTRI's David Boyle.

Dr. Chambers is a perinatal epidemiologist whose research is focused on environmental exposures and pregnancy and child health outcomes. She co-directs the UC San Diego Center for the Promotion of Maternal Health and Infant Development, and leads a number of national and international clinical research projects addressing medication and vaccine safety in pregnancy. She has conducted extensive research on improved diagnosis, prevention and treatment for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Dr. Chambers received a PhD in public health/epidemiology in 2002 from the joint doctoral program at UC San Diego and San Diego State University. She is the author of more than 100 research publications and has served as president of the US Teratology Society, as well as president of the North American Organization of Teratology Information Services.


Doris Dworschak, MBA, PMP, BSP

Doris Dworschak, MBA, PMP, BSP
CTRI Executive Administrative Director and Chief Operating Officer
CTRI Executive Committee Member

ddworschak@ucsd.edu
Phone: (858) 657-5185

Doris Dworschak is the Executive Administrative Director and Chief Operating Officer for the CTRI. In this role, Ms. Dworschak is responsible for all aspects of CTRI operations, and leads strategic planning and program development efforts. Ms. Dworschak was the first employee when the CTRI was established in 2010. Since she joined the CTRI, operations and services have nearly tripled. The CTRI now has more than 60 fulltime employees and has grown into an organization of significant resources, influence, and visibility. Under Ms. Dworschak's leadership, CTRI's profile has been heightened at UC San Diego and among its partners, as well as across the University of California system and at the national level within the CTSA consortium.

Ms. Dworschak manages and supervises all senior level personnel at CTRI, as well as the administrative core, and oversees more than $50 million in grants and programs. She is responsible for all facets of support to the CTRI operation, services to its customers, and collaborative multi-department and multi-institution projects, and is involved in the space allocation and design of the new $269-million Altman CTRI building, to be occupied in 2016. 

Ms. Dworschak has more than 20 years of experience in business administration at scientific research institutions, primarily in the academic medical arena. Prior to joining CTRI, she served for ten years as a senior administrator at UCLA's Health Sciences and five years as a business team leader at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. At the national laboratory, she worked as the program analyst for the Civilian Nuclear Energy program, Applied Energy, and NIH. She received an MBA from New Mexico State University, a Master Certificate in Project Management from George Washington University, and a BA in Communications from UCLA. In addition, she has been conferred the designation of a Balanced Scorecard Professional from the Balanced Scorecard Institute in conjunction with the George Washington University College of Professional Studies and is a green belt in Six Sigma.


Richard Haubrich, MD

Richard Haubrich, MD
Director of CTRI Education, Training and Career Development Program
CTRI Executive Committee Member

rhaubrich@ucsd.edu
Phone: (619) 543-4747

Dr. Haubrich, a Professor of Medicine with more than 20 years of experience in clinical investigation, joined CTRI in 2014. Dr. Haubrich, who has mentored dozens of trainees in research, oversees three key Roadmap programs at CTRI, as well as various seminars and a mentoring academy. The Roadmap programs include KL2, an institutional K award that supports junior faculty; TL1, an institutional T award that funds pre-doctoral medical and pharmacy students for three-month or one-year experiences; and the Clinical Research Enhancement and Supplemental Training (CREST), which provides a modular curriculum for a broad range of learners seeking instruction on clinical and translational research. Throughout his career, Dr. Haubrich has focused on improving antiretroviral therapy for HIV-infected people through conduct of observational, interventional and pathogenesis-based clinical investigation. He has participated in numerous clinical trials that include novel antiretroviral therapies, combination antiretroviral therapy, clinical strategy trials of HIV technologies, and the utility of HIV phenotype resistance in the management of antiretroviral therapy. He has conducted and mentored trainees through epidemiologic, translational, randomized-interventional and implementation science studies. Dr. Haubrich received his medical degree in 1983 from the University of Southern California Medical School in Los Angeles, and completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center in San Diego, where he was also chief medical resident. He then completed an infectious diseases fellowship at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester, Mass. In 1991, Haubrich joined UC San Diego, where he is a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases. He has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals, including AIDS and The Journal of Infectious Diseases, and has been invited to present his work at numerous international meetings, including the International AIDS Conference and the Infectious Diseases Society of America.


Scott M. Lippman, MD

Scott M. Lippman, MD
Professor of Medicine
Director, Moores Cancer Center
CTRI Executive Committee Member

slippman@ucsd.edu
Phone: (858) 822-1222

Scott M. Lippman, MD, joined the CTRI leadership team in 2013. Dr. Lippman is the director of the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, the only NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center in the region. He is Senior Associate Dean and Associate Vice Chancellor for Cancer Research and Care, Professor of Medicine, and Chugai Pharmaceutical Chair at UC San Diego, and adjunct professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, and MD Anderson Cancer Center. Prior to arriving at Moores Cancer Center in 2012, Dr. Lippman was chair of the Department of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Dr. Lippman brings more than 25 years of experience as principal investigator of translational research involving investigator-initiated clinical trials and maintains an active clinical practice. As a clinician, he is well-respected by his peers, with recognition in every major "Top Doctor" listing including U.S. News & World Report. His research interests include clinical and translational research focused on head and neck and lung cancer; genetic drivers of cancer and premalignancy; predictive molecular signatures and biomarkers for clinical response in solid tumors; and design of trials using molecular targets and markers for cancer prevention and therapy. Since 1990, he has had continuous funding from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), including as principal investigator of major programmatic grants to develop personalized or precision medicine. He recently received The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center team science award for his leadership of the multidisciplinary molecular-guided Biomarker-integrated Approaches of Targeted Therapy for Lung Cancer Elimination (BATTLE) trial.

He has participated in the national leadership of clinical/translational research planning and development within the NCI Cooperative Group setting and currently sits on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Trials/Translational Research Advisory Committee and chairs an NIH Study Section. He serves on several NCI advisory boards, NCI cancer center external advisory boards and journal editorial boards. Dr. Lippman has served on the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee and was elected to the board of directors for the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), Association of American Cancer Institutes and National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

Dr. Lippman completed fellowships in hematology and medical oncology at Stanford University and the University of Arizona, and internship and residency in internal medicine at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. He received his medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and is triple-board certified in internal medicine, hematology and medical oncology.

Author of more than 350 publications in high-impact journals, including The New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, PNAS, and The Lancet, J Clin Oncol and chapters in major medical textbooks, Dr. Lippman has received many awards, among them the ASCO-American Cancer Society Award, AACR Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation Award, and the ASCO Statesman Award. He is an elected member of the prestigious Association of American Physicians.


Paul Mills, PhD

Paul Mills, PhD
Co-Director of CTRI Translational Research Technology (TRT) Division
CTRI Executive Committee Member

pmills@ucsd.edu
Phone: (619) 543-2506

Paul Mills, PhD, is a professor of psychiatry in the behavioral medicine program at UC San Diego. He joined CTRI in 2010 as co-director of the Translational Research Technology (TRT) Division, and along with co-director David Boyle has helped guide the Division and develop it into a one-stop shop of flexible laboratory-based services for clinical and translational studies. In 2011, Dr. Mills established the well-attended TRT Quarterly Seminar Series, an avenue for fostering clinical and translational research by providing clinicians and scientists at UC San Diego and our partner institutions with education on cutting-edge clinical and translational research methodologies and applications. He directs TRT's Affiliated Laboratories and oversees the TRT Catalyst Grant programs, which provide in-kind support for early-stage projects that need preliminary data for subsequent applications for federal or foundation grants. Dr. Mills collaborates with CTRI partners on laboratory services for CTRI principal investigators, as well as on research services for Catalyst awardees. A recent catalyst grant collaboration is with Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute to provide high-throughput drug discovery screening services. Dr. Mills is also the Chair of the CTRI Membership Committee.

Dr. Mills is a long-standing NIH-supported clinical investigator. He was the director of the UC San Diego General Clinical Research Center Core Laboratories program for 14 years. He has expertise in cardiovascular and sleep physiology, as well as psychoneuroimmune processes in wellness and in disease. He has published more than 300 manuscripts and book chapters on these topics.


Lucila Ohno-Machado, MD, PhD

Lucila Ohno-Machado, MD, PhD
Director of CTRI Biomedical Informatics
CTRI Executive Committee Member

machado@ucsd.edu
Phone: (858) 822-4931

Lucila Ohno-Machado, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine, is the founding chief of the Division of Biomedical Informatics and Associate Dean for Informatics and Technology at UCSD. She received her medical degree from the University of Sao Paulo and her doctoral degree in medical information sciences and computer science from Stanford. Prior to her current position, she was on the faculty at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School and at the MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. She is former director of the Harvard-MIT-Tufts-Boston University training program in biomedical informatics. Dr. Ohno-Machado is an elected fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the American College of Medical Informatics, and the American Society for Clinical Investigation. She serves as editor-in-chief for the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.


Deborah H. Spector, PhD

Deborah H. Spector, PhD
Director of CTRI Translational Research Alliance
CTRI Executive Committee Member

dspector@ucsd.edu
Phone: (858) 534-9737

Deborah Spector, PhD, joined CTRI in 2010 to direct the Translational Research Alliance (TRA). She is responsible for all aspects of the TRA, including fostering collaboration with regional basic science researchers, strengthening and developing new educational programs that target basic researchers, coordinating joint faculty appointments, and communicating pilot project and core service information to partner scientists. She has been instrumental in forging collaborations with industry, both regionally and abroad, as well as in overseeing CTRI's Pilot Project program, and in establishing and administering the Galvanizing Engineering in Medicine (GEM) awards. The GEM awards were initiated in 2013 with the Institute of Engineering in Medicine to support projects that identify clinical challenges for which engineering solutions can be developed and implemented to improve health care. Dr. Spector chairs the GEM Committee and the Industry Advisory Council.

Dr. Spector is a Professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. Dr. Spector received a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was a Helen Hay Whitney Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at University of California, San Francisco.


Howard Taras, MD

Howard Taras, MD
Director of CTRI Community Engagement
CTRI Executive Committee Member

htaras@ucsd.edu
Phone: (619) 681-0665

Howard Taras, MD, joined the leadership team to direct the Community Engagement Division when CTRI was first established. Dr. Taras is a pediatrician affiliated with Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego and UC San Diego Health System. He has extensive experience engaging with community agencies and professionals and managing large multidisciplinary projects. Under his direction, CTRI has enhanced its engagement with many different populations in San Diego and Imperial counties, and expanded its volunteer base for CTRI-supported clinical trials. Taras and his team have increased enrollment of ResearchMatch by 800 percent between 2012 and 2014, with enrollment rates still accelerating. ResearchMatch is an NIH-sponsored, online registry designed to match researchers and study volunteers. Dr. Taras is advancing the science of community engagement in research, through journal publications and scientific meeting presentations.

Dr. Taras established the Academic-Community Partnership Pilot Project program, which expands research endeavors of all CTRI partner institutions to effectively engage local communities in the conception and conduction of clinical research. Through his leadership and with advisement of the CTRI Community Advisory Board, the Community Engagement staff and faculty are supporting successful dissemination and implementation of evidence-based health practices. Taras has employed social media, produced YouTube videos such as the Safe Pregnancy series, engaged with members of the general public at community fairs and at employee worksites about research, and collaborated with the San Diego Blood Bank (SDBB), adding iPads at the SDBB main location so blood donors could register with ResearchMatch.

Dr. Taras is a health consultant/medical director for several large school districts; director of a UCSD-contracted dental health initiative of San Diego County health department, and a consultant to community agencies and a board member to several county-wide public health initiatives. He is active with local physician associations and is nationally recognized for his expertise in and contributions to the areas of school health and children with special healthcare needs. He is a recipient of the "Health Hero" award from Combined Health Agencies of San Diego. Dr. Taras received a medical degree from McMaster University School of Medicine in Ontario, Canada.


Mark Wallace, MD

Mark Wallace, MD
Director of CTRI Division of Clinical Research
CTRI Executive Committee Member

mswallace@ucsd.edu
Phone: (858) 657-7030

Mark Wallace, MD, joined the leadership team at CTRI in 2010 and has overseen the establishment of the CTRI Center for Clinical Research (CCR), including the opening of a Phase I clinical trials unit with an investigational pharmacy. Dr. Wallace has been responsible for extensive growth in the CCR, which provides assistance with study design and biostatistics analysis, nursing and clinical coordinator services, and regulatory and pharmacy services. He has overseen the growth of the clinical coordinator core from two coordinators to 11, and the biostatistics team from 1.5 to four. With the help of Christina Chambers, he also has been instrumental in establishing a larger CTRI presence at Rady Children's Hospital and is currently on a steering committee to streamline the clinical trials application process.

Dr. Wallace is the Chair, Division of Pain Medicine in the Department of Anesthesiology of University of California at San Diego, which is actively involved in clinical care, teaching, and research. A nationally recognized lecturer on pain medicine, he has extensive experience in all aspects of pain management and is involved in numerous ongoing clinical trials for the management of pain, including acute, chronic, and cancer related pain. Under his direction the UCSD Center for Pain Medicine has received the American Pain Society Center of Excellence Award in 2010 and 2014. His research interests include human experimental pain, spinal drug delivery, and the use of the cannabinoids in pain management. Dr. Wallace earned his medical degree at Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska. He then completed an internship in general surgery at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC, a residency in anesthesiology at the University of Maryland, and a Fellowship in Pain Medicine at UCSD Medical Center. He has authored and coauthored more than 180 articles, abstracts, books, and book chapters concerning pain research and management. Dr. Wallace is an associate editor of The Clinical Journal of Pain and sits on numerous other editorial boards.


David P.Wellis, PhD

David P. Wellis, PhD
Chief Executive Officer San Diego Blood Bank
CTRI Executive Committee Member

dwellis@sandiegobloodbank.org
Phone: (619) 400-8222

David Wellis, PhD, became part of the leadership team at CTRI in 2014. Dr. Wellis is a cell biologist with more than 25 years of experience in the life science industry and currently serves as the CEO of the San Diego Blood Bank (SDBB). Dr. Wellis has been instrumental in forging the collaboration between SDBB and CTRI, working with CTRI's Translational Research Technology and Community Engagement divisions to provide resources for CTRI scientists and further support healthcare. Under his direction, the SDBB has added iPads at the main location so that blood donors can register with ResearchMatch and is creating a joint biorepository with TRT to collect and store fresh and expired blood samples for use in research. SDBB provides the Southern California regional hospitals with a wide range of blood banking services, including its Cell Therapy Program, which processes and stores cord blood, facilitating lifesaving stem cell transplants to patients worldwide. Dr. Wellis joined SDBB following his tenure as President at BioAtla LLC, an antibody drug development company with operations in San Diego and Beijing. Previously, Dr. Wellis headed Product Marketing for Illumina, Inc., one of the world's largest developers and marketers of genomic research and clinical analysis instruments. He was also previously president and CEO of the San Diego-based GenVault Corporation. The company was one of the world's leaders in biosample transport and banking and was instrumental in helping medical research, agriculture, and other fields advance genomic analysis and sample preservation. Dr. Wellis began his commercial career at Axon Instruments, Inc., that developed novel instrumentation for biomedical research, diagnostic and applied markets.

Dr. Wellis received a B.S. from UC Irvine, an M.S. and PhD from Emory University, postdoctoral training at Tufts University and UC Berkeley, and business training at Leavey Business School of Santa Clara University and Haas Business School at UC Berkeley. He is an active member of the Young Presidents' Organization, is a member of the Strategic Initiative and Academic Affairs committee at Francis Parker School, and is a board member of Triton Health and Nutrition LLC and GenTegra LLC.


Michael Ziegler, MD

Michael Ziegler, MD
CTRI Research Navigator
CTRI Executive Committee Member

mziegler@ucsd.edu
Phone: (619) 543-2885

Michael Ziegler, MD, joined CTRI in 2010 as the Research Navigator for CTRI researchers. In this role, he guides investigators about CTRI services and resources. Dr. Ziegler is a professor of medicine at UC San Diego. His research on sympathetic nervous system control of the cardiovascular system bridges basic and clinical research, and has resulted in over 300 publications. Dr. Ziegler served as the Director of the UC San Diego General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) for 16 years until it closed in June, 2010, and guided that program through a period of rapid growth, including expansion to a satellite GCRC at the University of California at Irvine. He has chaired the NIH Clinical Research Committee study section, NIH Loan Repayment Program, NIH site visits and NIH Special Emphasis Panels.