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FIRESTEIN RECEIVES DISTINGUISHED BASIC INVESTIGATOR AWARD FROM
AMERICAN COLLEGE OF RHEUMATOLOGY
ATLANTA – Gary S. Firestein, MD, professor of medicine, chief of the division of rheumatology, allergy and immunology, and dean of translational medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, received the Distinguished Basic Investigator Award from the American College of Rheumatology during the ACR Annual Scientific Meeting, October 16 – 21 in Philadelphia, Pa.
The Distinguished Basic Investigator Award, formerly known as the Distinguished Investigator Award, is given to a basic scientist making outstanding contributions to the field of rheumatology.
Dr. Gary S. Firestein received his Bachelor of Arts degree summa cum laude from Harvard College in 1976 and subsequently received his Medical Degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1980. After training in internal medicine at UCLA, he began his rheumatology fellowship at UCSD in 1983. In 1988, Dr. Firestein joined the faculty at UCSD School of Medicine as assistant professor of medicine. Four years later, Dr. Firestein was hired by Gensia, Inc. as 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 named professor of medicine and chief of the division of rheumatology, allergy and immunology. In 2008, Dr. Firestein was named dean of translational medicine at UCSD.
Dr. Firestein’s research interest has focused on the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis and mechanisms of inflammation. 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 served as pivotal proof of concept studies for targets like IKKß and JNK. In addition, he has directed a number of innovative clinical studies for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and scleroderma, and autoinflammatory syndromes with a focus on developing novel biomarker endpoints. In 1998, Dr. Firestein received the prestigious Carol-Nachman Prize, which is an international award given for outstanding contributions to rheumatology research. In 2006, he received the Lee C. Howley Sr. Prize for Arthritis Research by the Arthritis Foundation. He has been elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians.
Dr. Firestein has written over 240 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.
Dr. Firestein served as a chairperson of the FDA Arthritis Advisory Committee, co-chairperson of the 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 ACR Research and Education Foundation.
The ACR is an organization of and for physicians, health professionals, and scientists that advances rheumatology through programs of education, research, advocacy and practice support that foster excellence in the care of people with or at risk for arthritis and rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases.