ACTRI Announces Kevin King as Recipient of the 2018 Daniel T. O’Connor Memorial Award

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February 27, 2018 | Patti Wieser

Kevin King, MD, PhD

Kevin King, MD, PhD

UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute (ACTRI) announces Kevin King, MD, PhD, as the recipient of the 2018 Daniel T. O’Connor Memorial Award. The O’Connor award provides an additional $5,000 to the top ranked ACTRI 2018 pilot project recipient. King received a 2018 pilot project award from the ACTRI to support his study, “Clinical Pilot of Single Cell Analysis during Human Cardiac Ischemia and Infarction.” The additional O’Connor award will be presented to Dr. King on April 5 during the ACTRI Translational Science Symposium at the ACTRI Building.

“We are delighted to recognize Dr. King with this special award created in memory of Dr. Daniel T. O’Connor, an outstanding UCSD researcher who always provided support to young investigators,” said Murray Stein, MD, MPH, who oversaw the selection of the O’Connor Award recipient. “Dr. King, a cardiologist, is studying heart disease using a single cell resolution technique that could have broad implications for a wide number of diseases. His pilot project embodies the research spirit of Dr. O’Connor.”

King, an assistant professor of medicine, division of cardiology, and of bioengineering at UC San Diego, is adapting techniques for measuring RNA, DNA and protein with single cell analysis to clinical samples to study human disease with single cell resolution. “As a cardiologist, I am particularly drawn to study myocardial injury and heart failure, so we will first develop the technology in that context,” King said. “However, the methods we are developing are disease-agnostic. Therefore, we anticipate they will have much broader impact across a wide range of diseases as we disseminate them to other investigators.”

King said he was thrilled to learn that his pilot project was selected for the O’Connor award. He and his lab, upon hearing about Dr. O’Connor and his career, were deeply inspired. “We are honored by the support and are now even more motivated and excited to do the proposed work,” he said.

The O’Connor award was established in 2015 by Kellie Evans-O’Connor, the widow of Daniel T. O’Connor. O’Connor, a longstanding and beloved member of the faculty of the UC San Diego School of Medicine, is widely recognized for his achievements in clinical, translational and basic research on a national and international scale, particularly in the areas of adrenergic contributions to blood pressure regulation and the complex role of genetics in the contribution to hypertension. He had served on the CTRI Research Committee and conducted many clinical trials at CTRI. The memorial award supports a junior investigator by supplementing an ACTRI pilot project.

“As I have said from the beginning, the purpose of this extra award is not only to acknowledge top-notch bench-to-bedside research projects, but to give recognition, encouragement and an extra boost, as Dan did at every opportunity, to young investigators, especially those who seek out collaboration,” said Evans-O’Connor, who will join ACTRI leader Paul Mills, PhD, in presenting the award to Dr. King on April 5. “Knowing how tough the struggle for funding is, the idea is to give them a little more room to breathe, and a little extra resource to apply to their work as they see fit. Now that we have a few of these under our belt, I am also beginning to see a trait in these junior faculty that Dan would love: they themselves raise up and provide encouragement for the even younger investigators in their own labs in these projects. Dan would be beaming, I think, and giving his highest praise: 'I LIKE IT!’”

About UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute:

UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute (ACTRI) is part of a national Clinical and Translational Science Award consortium, led by the National Institutes of Health National Center for Advancing Translational Science. Established in 2010, ACTRI provides infrastructure and support for basic, translational and clinical research throughout the San Diego region to bring discoveries from the laboratory to the bedside, and facilitates training and education of the next generation of researchers. ACTRI carries out its activities in collaboration with institutional and corporate partners and currently has more than 1,500 members.