Leadership Team of the CTRI

Dr. Firestein

Gary S Firestein, MD, Director of CTRI

Professor of Medicine
Dean and Assoc. Vice Chancellor of Translational Medicine


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.

To View Dr. Firestein's Elsevier Author's Bio Page

CTRI Fall 2013, Presentation by Dr. Gary Firestein

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




Dr. Wallace

Mark Wallace, MD

Director of Division of Clinical Research


phone: (858) 657-7030


Mark 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. 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.

D. Boyle

David Boyle

Co-Director of Translational Research Technology (TRT)


phone: (858) 822-0784


David Boyle is a Research Scientist in the Department of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, UCSD. He is an internationally recognized researcher in the development and application of biomarker analysis to clinical research. He has made major contributions by applying rigorous criteria for assay development and validation on small tissue samples. He has published over 100 articles.

Dr. Jeste

Dilip V. Jeste, MD

Director of CTRI Education, Training and Career Program



phone: (858) 534-4020


Dr. Jeste is the Estelle and Edgar Levi Chair in Aging, Director of the Sam and Rose Stein Institute for Research on Aging, and Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Neurosciences. He is also the Director of the Advanced Center for Interventions and Services Research at UCSD focusing on psychosis in late-life, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, and of the John A. Hartford Center of Excellence in Geriatric Psychiatry. He serves as CTRI Director of Education and Training. He has published seven books and over 500 articles in peer-reviewed journals and books. He is in the Institute of Scientific Information list of the “world's most cited authors”. He is the past President of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry and the West Coast College of Biological Psychiatry; and the Founding President of the International College of Geriatric Psychoneuropharmacology. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, and a member of the Institute of Medicine.

Dr. Spector

Deborah H. Spector, PhD

Director, Translational Research Alliance


phone: (858) 534-9737


Dr. Deborah Spector is a Professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. She received her PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She was a Helen Hay Whitney Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at University of California San Francisco. Dr. Spector directs the Translational Research Alliance and chairs the Industry Advisory Council. She is responsible for all aspects of the Translational Research Alliance, 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.

Dr. Taras

Howard Taras, MD

Director, Community Engagement


phone: (619) 681-0665


Dr. Taras oversees the Community Engagement division of the CTRI. Dr Taras is a health consultant / medical director for several large school districts, director of San Diego County's health information outreach office for children's health insurance, and health consultant to other community agencies. He is very active with local physician associations and on boards of county-wide health initiatives. He is nationally recognized for his expertise in and contributions to the areas of school health and children with special needs. He has extensive experience engaging with community agencies and professionals, and managing large multidisciplinary projects.

Dr. Mills

Paul Mills, PhD

Co-Director of the Translational Research Technology


phone: (619) 543-2506


Dr. Paul J. Mills is Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine and Co-Director of Translational Research Technology. He is a long-standing NIH-supported clinical investigator, directing his own clinical biomarker laboratory at UCSD, and was the director of the UCSD GCRC Core Laboratories program for 14 years. He has expertise in cardiovascular and sleep physiology, as well as psychoneuroimmune processes in human diseases. He has published over 275 manuscripts and book chapters on these topics. He is currently immediate past president of the American Psychosomatic Medicine Society.

Dr. Machado

Lucila Ohno-Machado, MD, PhD

Director of the Biomedical Informatics Resource


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.

Dr. Ziegler

Michael Ziegler, MD

Research Navigator


phone: (619) 543-2885


Dr. Ziegler is Professor of Medicine and Ombudsman for CTRI researchers. 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 UCSD 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.

Dr. Lippman

Scott M. Lippman, MD

Professor of Medicine

Director, Moores Cancer Center

phone: (858) 822-1222


Scott M. Lippman, MD, joined Moores Cancer Center in May 2012. He is a professor of medicine at UC San Diego and holds the Chugai Pharmaceutical Chair in Cancer. Previously, he was chair of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology at The University of Texas (UT) MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Lippman brings more than 25 years of experience as principal investigator of translational research involving investigator-initiated clinical trials. 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. He has served on several cancer center external advisory boards and major-trial steering committees, and has played a leadership role in major AACR and American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) committees and programs.

Dr. Lippman graduated from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, did his internship and residency training at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, and had hematology/medical oncology training at Stanford University and the University of Arizona. He is board-certified in internal medicine, hematology and medical oncology.

In addition to extensive research and academic administrative responsibilities, Dr. Lippman maintains an active clinical practice. As a clinician, he is well-respected by his peers, with recognition in every major “Top Doctor” listing including recently in the U.S. News Top Doctors.

Author of more than 300 publications in high-impact journals, including The New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, PNAS, and The Lancet, and chapters in major medical textbooks, 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.

Dr. Chambers

Christina Chambers, PhD, MPH

Professor of Pediatrics
Director of Clinical Research Department of Pediatrics

phone: (858) 246-1704


Christina Chambers, PhD, MPH, is a professor of pediatrics at UC San Diego and Director of Clinical Research for the Department of Pediatrics at UCSD and Rady Children's Hospital. She is a perinatal epidemiologist whose research is focused on environmental exposures and pregnancy and child health outcomes. She co-directs the UCSD 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 heads the National Children's Study San Diego site, and has conducted extensive research on improved diagnosis, prevention and treatment for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.

Dr. Chambers received her PhD in public health/epidemiology in 2002 from the joint doctoral program at UCSD and San Diego State University. She is 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.


David P.Wellis, PhD   

Chief Executive Officer 

San Diego Blood Bank


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


David Wellis, PhD, is a cell biologist with over 25 years of experience in the life science industry and currently serves as the CEO of the San Diego Blood Bank (SDBB). 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 BS from UC Irvine, an MS 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. 


D. Dworschak


Doris Dworschak, MBA, PMP, BSP

Chief Administrative Officer


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

 Doris Dworschak is the Chief Administrative Officer for the CTRI and has a background of ten years as a senior administrator at UCLA and five years of experience as a business team leader at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. At UCLA, she served as administrator for various divisions within the Department of Medicine. For the National Laboratory, she worked as the program analyst for the Civilian Nuclear Energy program, Applied Energy and NIH. She has 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.