Scripps Health has announced the creation of a new Translational Science Institute and Genomic Medicine program to be led by cardiologist and physician-scientist Eric J. Topol, M.D.
Topol will assume the new post of chief academic officer and chief of genomic medicine and translational science for Scripps Health. In this new role, Topol will lead the new Scripps Translational Research Institute and serve as a senior consultant in the division of cardiology at Scripps Clinic.
The announcement was made during the Cardiovascular Research Foundation’s 18th Annual Scientific Symposium in Washington, D.C.
“This is a continuation of a strategy that Scripps Health has been implementing over the last seven years,” said Scripps Health President and CEO Chris Van Gorder. “Scripps Health is now in a position to recruit more renowned physician-scientists like Eric Topol, M.D., the first of many physician-scientists we hope to bring to Scripps in other clinical specialties. Just as Dr. Topol took the Cleveland Clinic to the number one heart program in the nation, we know his contributions will help Scripps realize its vision of becoming the destination heart program for the West Coast.”
The new Scripps Translational Science Institute will support basic research and clinical programs focusing on defining the genes that underlie susceptibility to disease, and take these findings into drug discovery programs and ultimately into clinical trials. The new Translational Science Institute will begin with a focus on cardiovascular treatment and the genetics of health. The program will include focus on cancer, neurological, musculoskeletal and other specialties.
Scripps Health announced last month a major expansion of its clinical research program, led by accomplished academic oncologist and clinical research leader Dr. Brian F. Issell. Doctors Topol and Issell will work collaboratively to expand Scripps Health’s clinical research programs.
Topol has had a distinguished career as a cardiologist, researcher and professor of medicine at esteemed medical and academic institutions across the country. He chaired the department of cardiovascular medicine at Cleveland Clinic for 15 years, from 1991-2006, which was consistently ranked the number one cardiovascular program in the nation during his tenure.
“Scripps has everything it needs to be a world leader in cardiovascular medicine, genomics and translational science,” said Topol. “The excellent clinical reputation of Scripps Health coupled with its longstanding relationship with The Scripps Research Institute, the genetic diversity of the San Diego population and its high concentration of exceptional biotechnology creates the ideal environment to develop a leading genomics and translational science program. There is no more exciting time in medicine than right now.”
Topol trained at the University of Rochester (medical school), University of California, San Francisco (internal medicine), Johns Hopkins (cardiology) and was a tenured professor at the University of Michigan for six years before starting at Cleveland Clinic. In 2001, he was a founder and Provost of the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University and Chief Academic Officer of the Cleveland Clinic. He is the program director for the flagship NIH $18 Million grant for a Specialized Center of Clinically Oriented Research (SCCOR) on the molecular determinants of coronary artery disease. Currently, Topol is a professor of genetics at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Medicine.
A renowned lecturer and author of more than 960 original scientific publications, Topol edits two major cardiology textbooks, The Textbook of Interventional Cardiology (5th edition) and The Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine (3rd edition).
Topol has been elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association of Physicians, the American Society of Clinical Investigation, and the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars. He was recently named a “Doctor of the Decade” by the Institute for Scientific Information for being one of the top 10 most cited researchers in medicine.
His work on genomics of coronary disease led to the discovery of the first autosomal dominant mutation (MEF2A deletion) inducing coronary disease and heart attack. This genetics research has led to recognition as a top 10 research advance by the American Heart Association (2002 and 2004), the Clinical Research Innovator Award of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (2003), the Andreas Gruentzig Award of the European Society of Cardiology in 2004, and the Simon Dack Award of the American College of Cardiology in 2005.
“Over the past two decades, Eric Topol has pioneered the development of key therapies that are now used to help our patients each day,” said cardiologist Paul Teirstein, M.D., chief of the division of cardiology at Scripps Clinic. “His recent focus on genomics illustrates his clear vision of medicine’s future. Scripps physicians are eager to work closely with Dr. Topol to create important new breakthroughs that will benefit our patients.”