Board Members: David Brenner
David Brenner, M.D.
An executive officer from a UC with a medical school
Appointed by UCSD Chancellor
David Brenner, M.D., a distinguished physician-scientist who began his academic career at UC San Diego, is Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine at UC San Diego. Brenner leads the UC San Diego School of Medicine, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, UCSD Medical Center and UCSD Medical Group. He has oversight of over 900 health sciences faculty physicians, pharmacists and scientists; 7,500 staff; more than 600 medical and pharmacy students; and a health system that cares for approximately 125,000 patients
Brenner is a leader in the field of gastroenterological research, specializing in diseases of the liver. He is widely known and respected as a translational scientist whose work bridges the laboratory and the clinical setting. He has focused on understanding the molecular pathogenesis of fibrotic liver disease and the genetic basis of liver disorders as the foundation for improving prevention and treatment of diseases of this organ. He is also recognized as an outstanding clinician and teacher.
For five years he was Editor-in-Chief of Gastroenterology, the premier journal in the field. After earning his M.D. from the Yale University School of Medicine and completing his residency at Yale-New Haven Medical Center, Brenner was a research associate in the Genetics and Biochemistry Branch of the National Institute of Arthritis, Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health. He first came to UC San Diego in 1985 on a fellowship in gastroenterology, later joining the faculty of UC San Diego School of Medicine, and serving as a physician at the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System. He became a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences and a Clinical Investigator in the VA system. He left UC San Diego in 1992 to become Professor and Chief of the Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he continued to earn accolades for his patient care and research contributions. Brenner became the Samuel Bard Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, College of Physicians and Surgeons, and Physician-in-Chief of New York Presbyterian Hospital/ Columbia in 2003.
Brenner’s professional associations include the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, which he was president 2011- 2012, the American College of Physicians, the American Gastroenterological Association, the American Clinical and Climatological Association, and the Institute of Medicine. He is also on the board of directors of two philanthropic foundations, the AlphaOne Foundation and the Alcoholic Beverage Medical Research Foundation.
Gary Firestein, M.D.
Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean for CTRI
Unversity of California, San Diego
Dr. Gary S. Firestein received his A.B. degree summa cum laude from Harvard College in 1976 and subsequently received his M.D. degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1980. After training in Internal Medicine at UCLA, he trained in Rheumatology fellowship at UC San Diego from 1983 to 1986. In 1988, he joined the faculty at UCSD School of Medicine as Assistant Professor of Medicine. Four years later, Dr. Firestein 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 and, in 1998 was promoted to Professor of Medicine. From 1998 to 2010, he served as chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology. In 2008 and 2010, Dr. Firestein was named Dean of Translational Medicine at UCSD and Associate Vice Chancellor of Translational Medicine, respectively. He is currently the Director of the Clinical and Translational Research Institute at UC San Diego.
Dr. Firestein’s research interest has focused on the pathogenesis and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. He was among the first to map the synovial cytokine profile of RA and demonstrate the dominance of macrophage and fibroblast products. These studies played a pivotal role in the development of the highly effective anti-TNF and other anti-cytokine approaches to RA. Dr. Firestein has also studied the role of aggressive synoviocyte behavior in RA as a mechanism of joint destruction and implicated tumor suppressor genes mutations in the pathogenesis of disease. Over the last decade, his laboratory has worked extensively on signal transduction pathways as potential therapeutic targets. These studies identified key signaling molecules regulating synovial inflammation and paved the way to several effective oral small molecule inhibitors that are currently in late phase clinical development for RA. More recently, Dr. Firestein has focused on epigenetics and discovered a DNA methylation signature specific to RA. In addition, he directed a number of innovative clinical studies for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, and autoinflammatory syndromes with a focus on developing novel biomarker endpoints. In 1998, Dr. Firestein received the prestigious Carol-Nachman Prize, which is the top international award 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 his contributions to rheumatology. In 2012, Dr. Firestein received the Johns Hopkins University Distinguished Alumnus Award. 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 the Editor-in-Chief of the Kelley Textbook of Rheumatology. He was chairperson of the FDA Arthritis Advisory Committee, co-chairperson of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Abstract Selection Committee and has served on the ACR Committee on Research and the Arthritis Foundation Research Committee. He currently is a member of the Board of Directors of the Veteran’s Medical Research Foundation, is a past member of the ACR Research and Education Foundation Board of Directors and chairs the ACR Committee on Journal Publications. In 2011, he co-founded Ignyta, an epigenetics diagnostics company in San Diego.
In addition to his academic pursuits, Dr. Firestein is an avid surfer and travels the world in search of the perfect wave.