Course Director

Eric J. Topol, MD

Founder & Director, Scripps Translational Science Institute
Chief Academic Officer, Scripps Health
Professor of Genomics, The Scripps Research Institute

Eric Topol is Professor of Genomics at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), and the Founder and Director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI). As a researcher, he has published over 1100 peer-reviewed articles, with more than 170,000 citations, elected to the National Academy of Medicine, and is one of the top 10 most cited researchers in medicine (Thomson Reuters ISI, “Doctor of the Decade”). His principal scientific focus has been on the genomic and digital tools to individualize medicine—and the power that brings to individuals to drive the future of medicine.

In 2016, Topol was awarded a $207M grant from the NIH to lead a significant part of the Precision Medicine Initiative, a one million American All of Us prospective research program. Prior to coming to lead STSI in 2007, for which he is founder and principal investigator of a flagship $33M NIH grant, he led the Cleveland Clinic to become the #1 center for heart care and was the founder of a new medical school there. He has been voted as the #1 most influential physician leader in the United States in a national poll conducted by Modern Healthcare. Besides editing several textbooks, he has published two bestseller books on the future of medicine: The Creative Destruction of Medicine and The Patient Will See You Now.

Planning Committee

Kristian G. Andersen, PhD

Director, Infectious Disease Genomics, Scripps Translational Science Institute
Assistant Professor, The Scripps Research Institute

Dr. Kristian G. Andersen is an Assistant Professor in both the Department of Immunology and Microbial Science and the Department of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology at The Scripps Research Institute. He is also Director of Infectious Disease Genomics at the Scripps Translational Science Institute.

Dr. Andersen’s research has spanned many research areas and disciplines. His recent research has focused on the complex relationship between host and pathogen. Using a combination of next-generation sequencing, experimentation and computational biology he has spearheaded large international collaborations investigating the spread and evolution of highly deadly pathogens, including Zika, Ebola and Lassa viruses. This work provided insights into the emergence and transmission of Zika virus in the Americas and Ebola virus during the 2014-2015 epidemic in West Africa, and formed the foundation for the usage of genomic tools during rapidly evolving outbreaks.

Using experimental animal models and molecular biological techniques, Dr. Andersen also elucidated the evolutionary history of regulatory T cell-mediated tolerance mechanisms. He then exploited that knowledge to develop novel immune-based therapies and showed that they could be used for the treatment of arthritis, diabetes, and transplantation rejection in a number of different animal models.

Dr. Andersen conducted his post-doctoral research at Harvard University and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, where he is an Affiliated Member. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge and the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in 2009.

Laura Nicholson, MD, PhD

Co-Director, Education, Scripps Translational Science Institute
Associate Program Director, Medicine Residency, Scripps Health

Laura 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.

Emily Spencer, PhD

Director, Clinical Genomics Program
Assistant Professor, Scripps Translational Science Institute

Emily manages several studies aimed at bringing advances in genomics into clinical care. Prior to joining STSI in August 2014 Emily worked for Howard Hughes Medical Institute coordinating large genomic studies at the UCSD Center for Brain Development-Gleeson Lab.

Emily obtained her PhD at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the UAB Medical Genomics Laboratory where her research focused on expanding genomic characterization of Neurofibromatosis Type 1 and related rasopathies. Emily has undergraduate degrees in Biological Psychology and Spanish from the University of California at Davis.

Steven R. Steinhubl, MD

Director, Digital Medicine, Scripps Translational Science Institute
Associate Professor of Genomic Medicine, The Scripps Research Institute

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 over 200 peer-reviewed manuscripts as well as numerous book chapters, and abstracts.

Andrew Su, PhD

Director, Bioinformatics, Scripps Translational Science Institute
Professor, The Scripps Research Institute

Andrew is Professor at the Scripps Research Institute in the Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine (MEM). His research focuses on building and applying bioinformatics infrastructure for biomedical discovery. His research has a particular emphasis on leveraging crowdsourcing for genetics and genomics. Representative projects include the Gene Wiki, BioGPS, MyGene.Info, and Mark2Cure, each of which engages the crowd to help organize biomedical knowledge. These resources are collectively used millions of times every month by members of the research community, by students, and by the general public.

Ali Torkamani, PhD

Director, Genome Informatics & Drug Discovery, Scripps Translational Science Institute
Assistant Professor, Molecular and Experimental Medicine, 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. 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 was 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, and novel sequencing-based assays as biomarkers of disease. He has authored over 80 peer-reviewed publications, several highlighted in the popular press, and has written numerous book chapters and Medscape references.

Nathan E. Wineinger, PhD

Director, Biostatistics
Assistant Professor, Scripps Translational Science Institute

Nathan E. Wineinger, Ph.D. joined the faculty at STSI in January 2014. His expertise is in statistical approaches to high-dimensional data structures – including digital medicine and genomic data. By developing and applying advanced quantitative methods beyond traditional strategies, he hopes to more accurately depict model human biology thereby leading to new discoveries.

Nathan has applied such approaches across a wide variety of traits including cardiovascular-related phenotypes, obesity and insulin resistance, longevity, neuropsychiatric and autoimmune disorder, and pharmacogenetics. 

His research interests center around the coalescence of big data sources to digitize human health – a function of both wireless sensor and genomic information. By incorporating predictive analytics, he hopes to leverage such vast amounts of information to improve disease prevention strategies and patient outcomes. 

Nathan received his B.A. in Mathematics from Grinnell College in 2005; and his Ph.D. in Biostatistics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2011. Prior to his promotion to the faculty at STSI, he was a research scientist at the institute from 2011 to 2013.