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Summer 2021

Despite the delay since our last ACTRI newsletter (October 2020), we have been very busy! From COVID vaccine studies to new medical informatics resources, to new Centers (Dissemination and Implementation Science Center and Translational Immunogenomics) to our new Med-Gap program for medical student researchers, the last year has been action-packed. My sincere thanks to everyone who worked to keep our clinic, services, and other facilities running. Today’s message will focus on our new Device Acceleration Center (DAC) to give an idea about how ACTRI resources are being used to expand opportunities for collaboration. The goal of the DAC is to ensure that commercialization resources at UC San Diego can be leveraged by our UC San Diego innovators on campus.

DAC’s first order of business was to create and connect the infrastructure needed to bring innovative technology and engineering ideas through the complex process of commercialization. DAC offers opportunities for collaboration and partnership, consulting, education (including a new Translational Science Certificate), study planning, and human testing. Connecting these resources required creating a new organizational structure and increasing communication with the campus community. 

Highlights include the Jacob School of Engineering’s Institute for the Global Entrepreneur (IGE) bootcamps to guide teams through the process of refining concepts, getting regulatory approvals, and finding funding. DAC also hosted several “Pitch Days,” which brought innovators together with venture capitalists and business leaders. After just one year, DAC is already working with more than 25 teams to move their ideas towards commercialization.  

ACTRI has provided resources for several years to enhance engineer-clinician-venture capital partnerships, including our experience conducting Phase I clinical trials, the Galvanizing Engineering in Medicine (GEM) program, and the Tricorder XPRIZE device project. As we emerge from the pandemic, we look forward to the continued success of research programs run with our collaborators across the campus. 

Gary S. Firestein, MD, Director of ACTRI
Distinguished Professor of Medicine
Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences