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Governing & Advisory Boards

For the Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) programs sponsored by the NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA).

STSI Governing Board | Advisory Board | External Advisory Board | Internal Advisory Board

Eric Topol, M.D.

STSI Program Director; Scripps Health Chief Academic Officer

Eric Topol Eric J. Topol, M.D. is the Director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla, California, which is supported by a National Institutes of Health funded flagship grant, to accelerate research to change medicine. He also serves as the Chief Academic Officer for Scripps Health, a Professor of Translational Genomics at The Scripps Research Institute, and a practicing cardiologist at Scripps Clinic. His research has been in two major areas: clinical development of new drugs/devices and genomics. Topol pioneered the development of many medications that are routinely used in medical practice including t-PA, Plavix, Angiomax, and ReoPro. He has led worldwide clinical trials in over 40 countries involving over 200,000 patients. His genomics research has been on discovery of key genes in heart attack and more recently in healthy aging. He has been a medical innovator in wireless medicine, including wireless ECG, vital signs, remote monitoring for heart failure, and as co-founder and Vice Chairman of the Board for the West Wireless Health Institute. He has over 1000 original peer-reviewed publications and has edited over 30 books, including the Textbook of Interventional Cardiology (6th ed - Elsevier), and the Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine (3rd ed - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins). Dr. Topol led the Cleveland Clinic’s Cardiovascular program to #1 ranked status in the U.S. for 11 consecutive years and founded the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine before moving to Scripps in 2006. He has been elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and named Doctor of the Decade by the Institute for Scientific Information for being one of the top 10 most cited medical researchers.

Dr. Topol’s Wikipedia page can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Topol


Gerald Joyce, M.D., Ph.D.

STSI Director for Translational Science; Professor, Departments of Chemistry and Cell & Molecular Biology, TSRI

Gerald Joyce, M.D., Ph.D. Gerald Joyce, M.D., Ph.D., STSI Director for Translational Science, is a Professor in the Departments of Chemistry and Cell & Molecular Biology at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI). Dr. Joyce maintains a vigorous academic research program in the area of nucleic acid biochemistry. His research concerns the development of novel RNA and DNA enzymes, using methods of in vitro evolution that his laboratory helped pioneer. These methods are widely used in macromolecular chemistry and enzymology, and have had broad applications in clinical diagnostics and therapeutics. The anti-VEGF compound pegaptanib, for example, is an in vitro evolved RNA molecule that has been approved for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration. Dr. Joyce’s laboratory developed the first and several subsequent examples of DNA enzymes. Once such DNA molecule, the 10-23 motif, provides the basis for the DzyNA-PCR method of quantitative nucleic acid amplification. Dr. Joyce has published over 100 scientific papers and is the inventor of 11 issued patents. He has received numerous honors, including election to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2001. Dr. Joyce also maintains an active medical license. Although he no longer has direct patient contact, he is well aware of clinical training and how it relates to basic scientific research. As both an accomplished medical scientist and a Professor in a premier biomedical research institute he is highly qualified for the role of STSI Director for Translational Science.

Nicholas J. Schork, Ph.D.

STSI Director of Bioinformatics and Biostatistics; Professor, Department of Molecular & Experimental Medicine, TSRI

imageNicholas Schork, Ph.D., is the STSI Director of Bioinformatics and Biostatistics, Dr. Schork is also a Professor, Molecular and Experimental Medicine, The Scripps Research Institute, and member of the Executive Oversight Committee of the San Diego Supercomputer Center. Dr. Schork’s interest and expertise are quantitative human genetics and genomics, especially the design and implementation of methodologies to dissect the genetic basis of complex traits and diseases. He has published over 250 scientific articles and book chapters on the analysis of complex, multifactorial traits and diseases. A member of several scientific journal editorial boards, Dr. Schork is a frequent participant in U.S. National Institutes of Health-related steering committees and review boards, and has served on the advisory board of five companies. In addition, he is currently Director of the Bioinformatics and Biostatistics Core of the National Institute of Aging-sponsored Longevity Consortium and a member of the Genetic Association Information Network (GAIN) data analysis committee of the National Human Genome Research Institute.

Richard Neale, B,Sc., LLB, M.B.A.

Scripps Health Corporate Sr. Vice President, Research Operations

imageRichard Neale, B.Sc., LLB, M.B.A. is the Chief Business Officer at STSI and was recently appointed the Corporate Vice-President of Research Operations at Scripps Health. Mr. Neale brings extensive business and operational management experience from within the biopharmaceutical industry to our organization. Prior to his appointment at STSI in 2008, he held the position of Sr. Vice President North America at Galapagos, a Belgian based bio-pharmaceutical company.  Prior to Galapagos, he was the Corporate Vice President of Business Operations and Alliances at Discovery Partners International and previously held executive level positions with both Systems Integrated Drug Discovery Company and Novopharm Biotech (now Viventia).  Rick’s experience has greatly facilitated the connection of STSI with a large number of genome science, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical device and diagnostic companies in San Diego and beyond.

Jamie R. Williamson, Ph.D.

STSI Co-Program Director of Education (TL1 Doctoral Program); Dean of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies, The Scripps Research Institute

Jamie Williamson, Ph.D.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.

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

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

imageLaura 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.

Athena Philis-Tsimikas, M.D.

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

imageAthena 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.

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).

Advisory Board

Andrew Viterbi Chair, STSI Business Advisory Board; Chair, The Viterbi Group; Co-Founder, Qualcomm
Kim Blickenstaff Director/Chairman, Medivation, Inc.; CEO/Director, Biosite, Inc.; President/CEO, Tandem Diabetes Care Inc.
J. Andy Corley Senior Consultant of Bausch + Lomb; Yelroc Consulting, Inc.
Terry Gregg Special Venture Partner at Galen Partners & President and CEO of DexCom, Inc.
Paul Jacobs Chairman & CEO, Qualcomm, Inc.
Ann Kessler Former Global Head, International Project Management; U.S> Head, Exploratory Research, Pharmacology & Chemotherapy, Hoffman-La Roche
Darren Robbins Founding Partner at Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP
Abby Silverman Partner, Silverman Weiss Dispute Resolution; formerly of Counsel to Baker & McKenzie LLP, North American Region
Masood Tayebi Co-Founder, BioDuro; Board Chairman, Wireless Facilities, Inc.
Paul Schimmel Ernest and Jean Hahn Professor at The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology
Scott Huennekens President and Chief Executive Officer, Volcano Corporation
Herb Boyer Co-Founder, Genentech, Inc.

External Advisory Board

Eric Orwoll, M.D. Chair; Director, Oregon Health Sciences CTSA (OCTSI)
Inder Verma, Ph.D. Professor, Salk Institute
Steven Cummings, M.D. SF Coordinating Center, CPMC Research Inst & UCSF CTSA (CTSI))
Don McClain, M.D., Ph.D. Director, Utah University CTSA (CCTS)
Kim Kamdar, Ph.D. Principal, Domain Associates, LLC
Pamela J. Bjorkman, Ph.D. Professor, Caltech University

Internal Advisory Board

Floyd Bloom, M.D. Chair; Executive Director of Scientific Communications, The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI)
Bridget Carragher, Ph.D. Associate Professor Cellular Biology, TSRI
A. Brent Eastman, M.D. Chief Medical Officer, Scripps Health
Lawrence Kline, M.D. Medical Director Scripps Clinic Sleep Center, Scripps Health
Peter Kuhn, Ph.D. Associate Professor Cellular Biology, TSRI
Athena Philis-Tsimikas, M.D. Corporate VP, Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute, Scripps Health
Paul Schimmel, Ph.D. Professor Molecular Biology, TSRI
Raymond C. Stevens, Ph.D. Professor Structural Neurobiology, TSRI
Paul Teirstein, M.D. Division Head Cardiovascular Diseases, Scripps Health
Peter K. Vogt, Ph.D. Professor, Oncovirology, Molecular & Experimental Medicine, TSRI