Gary S. Firestein, MD

Gary S. Firestein, MD, Director of the Clinical and Translational Research Institute

Director, Clinical and Translational Research Institute
Dean and Associate Vice Chancellor for CLINICAL AND Translational RESEARCH, UC San Diego Health Sciences

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Dr. Gary Firestein is director of the Clinical and Translational Research Institute, dean and associate vice chancellor for clinical and translational research, and a professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine. He joined the faculty as an assistant professor of medicine in 1988.

Four years later, he was recruited by Gensia, Inc. to be director of immunology. At Gensia, he supervised drug discovery efforts, focusing on the potential role of purines in inflammation. In 1996, he returned to UC San Diego Health where he served as chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology from 1998 to 2010. 

Dr. Firestein’s research focuses on the pathogenesis and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. He was among the first to map the cytokine profile of rheumatoid arthritis and demonstrate the dominance of macrophage and fibroblast products. These studies played a pivotal role in the development of highly effective anti-TNF and other anti-cytokine therapies for rheumatoid arthritis. 

He was chairperson of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Arthritis Advisory Committee and has served on the board of directors of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Rheumatology Research Foundation, the American College of Rheumatology and the Veteran’s Medical Research Foundation. He also previously served on the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) Advisory Council. He has been elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians.

Dr. Firestein received the Arthritis Foundation’s Jane Wyman Humanitarian Award in 2010 for his contributions to rheumatology. In 2006 and 2016, he received the Arthritis Foundation Lee C. Howley Sr. Prize for Arthritis Research and in 2009 received the American College of Rheumatology Distinguished Investigator Award. In 1998, he received the Carol-Nachman Prize, an international award given for outstanding contributions to rheumatology research.

The author of more than 300 articles and chapters, Dr. Firestein has edited and written several books. He served as the deputy editor of Arthritis & Rheumatism and is currently the editor-in-chief of Kelley and Firestein’s Textbook of Rheumatology.