Eric J. Topol, M.D.

STSI Program Director
Scripps Health Chief Academic Officer

Eric Topol

Eric Topol is a Professor of Genomics at the Scripps Research Institute, the Chief Academic Officer for Scripps Health, and the Director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI). Voted as the #1 Most Influential Physician Executive in the United States in a national poll conducted by Modern Healthcare, Dr. Topol works on genomic and wireless digital innovative technologies to reshape the future of medicine. He is a practicing cardiologist at Scripps in La Jolla, California and widely credited for leading the Cleveland Clinic to become the #1 center for heart care. While there he also started a new medical school, led many worldwide clinical trials to advance care for patients with heart disease, and spearheaded the discovery of multiple genes that increase susceptibility for heart attacks. Since 2006, in La Jolla, he leads the flagship NIH grant supported STSI. He has published 1100 peer-reviewed articles, over 165,000 citations, elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, named in GQ Magazine as one of the Rock Stars of Science, and is one of the top 10 most cited researchers in medicine (Thomson Reuters, “Doctor of the Decade”). He is also Editor-in-Chief of Medscape. His bestseller book The Creative Destruction of Medicine (Basic Books) was published in 2012 and The Patient Will See You Now was just published in January 2015.


Daniel R. Salomon, M.D.

Daniel R. Salomon, M.D.

STSI Director of TL1 Education

Dr. Salomon is a Professor at The Scripps Research Institute, Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, Director of the Laboratory for Functional Genomics and Program Medical Director, Scripps Center for Organ Transplantation. He is immediate past President of the American Society of Transplantation. Dr. Salomon has published over 140 peer-reviewed manuscripts, 47 chapters and reviews and edited 3 books. He has served on numerous national and international committees including: Executive Board member, Program Committee Chair, Cell Transplantation Committee Chair, and Xenotransplantation Committee Chair for the American Society of Transplantation; Chair, National Institutes of Health Islet Cell Resources Steering Committee; Chair, NIH Genomics of Transplantation Cooperative Research Program Steering Committee, Founding Member, US Secretary of Health’s Xenotransplantation Advisory Committee and Chair, FDA Biological Response Modifiers Advisory Committee. He has served on multiple NIH Study Sections and Special Emphasis Panels. Dr. Salomon’s laboratory studies organ and cell transplantation immunology with a focus on functional genomics, proteomics and genetics. One set of objectives is to discover biomarkers for the diagnosis of acute and chronic rejection that will enable the personalized management of immunosuppression. Another objective is to discover prognostic markers for transplant outcomes by integrating molecular phenotyping of biopsies, genetics, transcriptional profiling and proteomics. Another objective is to understand the multi-dimensionality of transcriptional regulation. These last studies include the regulation of microRNA and long noncoding RNA, alternative splicing and RNA binding proteins and the dynamic impact of epigenetic changes, methylation and histone marks, on lymphocyte activation, differentiation and immunosuppression.

Laura Nicholson, M.D., Ph.D.

STSI Co-Program Director of KL2 Education (Clinician Scholar Program)
Physician, Scripps Clinic

Laura Nicholson, MD, PhDLaura Nicholson, M.D., Ph.D., received her medical and graduate degrees at SUNY Buffalo in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and completed her internal medicine residency at University of Rochester in Rochester, NY. She joined Scripps Clinic in 2006 as a hospitalist and Associate Program Director of the Internal Medicine Residency, leading the evidence-based medicine curriculum and directing the residency research program. In 2012, she joined Scripps Translational Science Institute as Co-Director of Education for the NIH-funded CTSA graduate scholars program, guiding physician scholars through a Masters in Clinical and Translational Investigation and linking graduate and post-doctoral trainees to clinical research collaborators.
Dr. Nicholson’s research centers on evidence-based practice principles and how best to promote them amongst active clinicians, clinical faculty, residents, and medical students. She brings this emphasis to physician and graduate scholars within STSI who apply genomic, bioinformatic, and other translational methodologies to clinical studies of various disease states. She has been honored by many student and resident teaching awards in her faculty roles at Scripps, UCSD, and Stanford.

Ali Torkamani, Ph.D.

Associate Professor & Director of Genome Informatics, Scripps Translational Science Institute
Assistant Professor of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology, The Scripps Research Institute

The human genome is the biological code that specifies human-beings. Dr. Torkamani’s overall vision is to decipher that code in order to understand and predict interventions that restore diseased individuals to a healthy ground state. He is the Director of Genome Informatics at STSI and an Assistant Professor at The Scripps Research Institute – professor, scientist, inventor and entrepreneur.

Dr. Torkamani obtained his undergraduate degree in chemistry at Stanford University, where he received a Bing Foundation Chemistry Research Fellowship, and his doctorate in biomedical sciences at the University of California, San Diego, (in record time) under the mentorship of Dr. Nicholas Schork as an NIH Genetics Predoctoral Training awardee. In 2008, he joined the Scripps Translational Science Institute as a Research Scientist and Donald C. and Elizabeth M. Dickinson Fellow, and shortly thereafter as an Assistant Professor of Molecular and Experimental Medicine and Mario R. Alvarez Fellow. As an Assistant Professor Dr. Torkamani received a Blasker Science and Technology and PhRMA Foundation Award. In 2012, Dr. Torkamani advanced to Director of Genome Informatics at STSI where he leads various human genome sequencing and other genomics initiatives. Dr. Torkamani is also co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Cypher Genomics, Inc.

Dr. Torkamani’s research covers a broad range of areas centered on the use of genomic technologies to identify the genetic etiology and underlying mechanisms of human disease in order to define precision therapies for diseased individuals. Major focus areas include human genome interpretation and genetic dissection of novel rare diseases, predictive genomic signatures of response to therapy – especially cancer therapy, and novel sequencing-based assays as biomarkers of disease. He has authored over 50 peer-reviewed publications as well as numerous book chapters and Medscape references. His research has been highlighted in the popular press (Union Tribune) (National Geographic).

Andrew SuAndrew Su, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, The Scripps Research Institute

Andrew Su is an Associate Professor at the Scripps Research Institute in the Departments of Molecular and Experimental Medicine (MEM) and Integrative Structural and Computational Biology (ISCB). His research focuses on applying the tools of bioinformatics, statistics, crowdsourcing, and computer science to biomedical discovery. Prior to joining Scripps in July 2011, he was the Associate Director of Bioinformatics at the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF) in San Diego, CA. He also serves as the Gene Wiki Editor at the journal Gene and on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Gene Ontology Consortium.

Athena Philis-Tsimikas, M.D.

STSI Director of Community Engagement
Scripps Health’s Corporate VP, Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute

AthenaAthena Philis-Tsimikas, M.D. was named as the executive director of The Whittier Institute for Diabetes in 2004 and continues her role as the Chief Medical Officer. Prior to joining The Whittier Institute Philis-Tsimikas served as a clinical endocrinologist on the staff of the Scripps Clinic Medical Group for seven years in the Division of Diabetes and Endocrinology. She has also served as an Associate Clinical Professor at the University of California, San Diego for the past 11 years in the Division of Endocrinology/Diabetes and Metabolism. In 1997, she assisted in establishing the community wide, nationally recognized diabetes program, Project Dulce as its medical director. She subsequently joined The Whittier Institute full time in 2001 as its chief medical director and Executive Vice President of Clinical Programs. Dr. Tsimikas received her medical degree from the University of Athens Medical School, Athens, Greece in 1988 and later completed dual research and clinical fellowships in Diabetes and Endocrinology from the University of California, San Diego, and Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation. She is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in the subspecialty of Diabetes and Endocrinology. Philis-Tsimikas has served as the principal investigator in numerous clinical research trials both sponsor and investigator initiated over the last 8 years. She has dedicated her career to furthering diabetes care, research and education and will guide the organization’s strategic direction and clinical focus, which includes: patient care and education provided by the Scripps Whittier Diabetes Program and Project Dulce; diabetes research; clinical trials; diabetes training programs for professionals; and diabetes prevention programs for children and their parents.

Steven R. Steinhubl, M.D.

Steven R. Steinhubl, M.D.Director, Digital Medicine, STSI
Cardiologist, Scripps Clinic

Dr. Steinhubl is the Director of Digital Medicine at STSI and a cardiologist at Scripps Health, Scripps Clinic. He received his undergraduate training in chemical engineering at Purdue University in Indiana, graduate training in physiology at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and his medical degree at St. Louis University in Missouri. Steve’s internal medicine residency training was completed at David Grant Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base, California. Following residency, he was a staff internist at Elmendorf Air Force Base Hospital in Anchorage, Alaska. His cardiology and interventional cardiology fellowships were at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation where he was also Chief Cardiology Fellow. Prior to joining Scripps Steve was the Director of Cardiovascular Wellness and the Medical Director for Employee Wellness for the Geisinger Healthcare System. He was also the Cardiology Fellowship Director, a clinician-scientist and a staff cardiologist there. In the past, beyond his time in the Air Force, Steve has also been a Global Medical Vice-President for The Medicines Company based in Zurich Switzerland and the Director of Cardiovascular Education and Clinical Research at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.
Dr Steinhubl’s research activities have covered a broad range of topics in cardiology with a primary early focus on trials of novel antithrombotic therapies for the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease, and more recently on the application of an integrated systems-based approach to the optimal identification, communication and treatment of an individual’s risk for various manifestations of cardiovascular disease. He has been principal investigator or helped lead over a dozen large-scale, international randomized trials and has authored nearly 200 peer-reviewed manuscripts as well as numerous book chapters, and abstracts.

Jamie R. Williamson, Ph.D.Jamie R. Williamson, Ph.D.

STSI Co-Program Director of Education
Dean of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies, The Scripps Research Institute

Jamie Williamson, Ph.D. is Dean of the Kellogg Graduate School of TRSI and Director of Education for STSI. Dr. Williamson was a tenured Associate Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Department of Chemistry before joining the Scripps Research Institute as Professor of Molecular Biology and a member of the Skaggs Institute of Chemical Biology in 1998. After serving as the Associate Dean since 2001, he assumed the position of Dean of Graduate and Postgraduate Studies in 2008. His research focuses on the structure of RNA and its interactions with RNA binding proteins that regulate RNA function, using a wide range of biochemical and biophysical techniques. Areas of focus include ribosome assembly, ribonucleoprotein complexes that regulate translation of mRNAs, and nuclear transport by the HIV Rev protein. Dr. Williamson has mentored over 40 Ph.D. and postdoctoral students, many of whom have gone on to academic positions at Stanford, Brown, U. Massachusetts, U. Colorado, U. Maryland, Indiana U., and the Max Planck Institute. He has published over 100 original scientific articles, including papers in Science, Nature, and Cell. His teaching duties include lectures in Biophysics, Structural Biology, and Molecular Biology.

Amarnath GuptaAmarnath Gupta

Amarnath Gupta is the Associate Director (Academic Affairs) and a Research Scientist at the San Diego Supercomputer Center of University of California San Diego, where he directs the Advanced Query Processing Lab. His current research interests are in the area of emerging information systems that include graph data management, semantic information integration for scientific applications, ontological information management, information management in social networks, and the impact of high-performance computing platforms for information systems problems. He has been associated with several Neuroinformatics projects.  He has been an early architect of the Cell Centered Database, the BIRN project, and is currently the co-PI and technical design lead of the Neuroscience Information Framework (NIF). He oversees the data platform design for the Wellderly and Digital Medicine programs at STSI.

Barbara Bigby

Barbara Bigby

For more than 35 years, Ms. Bigby has been involved in clinical research as investigator, research associate, study coordinator, and IRB professional. For the past 14 years, her focus has been on research ethics, protection of human subjects, and regulatory affairs. She is an active member of Public Responsibility in Medicine & Research (PRIM&R) and is serving a 3-year term on the Council for Certified IRB Professionals. She taught Human Subjects Protection and IRBs at the UCSD Extension from 2002-2010 and currently teaches Human Subjects Protection & IRBs at the Clinical Trial Statistics, Design & Execution course for CTSA trainees.

Michael Alcorn, MBA

STSI Senior Administrative Director

imageMichael Alcorn is Senior Administrative Director at STSI. Having served as a Grants & Contracts Accountant with Scripps Clinic & Research Foundation (1985-1989) and Senior Administrative Director for Scripps Clinical Research Services (CRS, 1999-2008) prior to joining STSI in 2008, Mr. Alcorn provides experienced administrative leadership and functionality for the STSI grant’s major intersecting components (i.e., Scripps Health and The Scripps Research Institute).

External Advisory Board

Inder Verma, Ph.D. (Chair) Professor, Salk Institute
Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, M.D., Ph.D. Director, UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities
Atul Butte, M.D., Ph.D. Director, Institute of Computational Health Sciences, UCSF
Ralph Horwitz, M.D. Sr VP, Clinical Evaluation Sciences, GlaxoSmithKline
Kim Kamdar, Ph.D. Principal, Doman Associates, LLC
Aenor Sawyer, M.D. Associate Director of Digital Health, UCSF
Michael Snyder, Ph.D. Director, Center for Genomics & Personalized Medicine, Stanford
Michael O’Reilly, M.D. VP Medical Technology, Apple