Research Council Chair Report 09-10

Summary of History and Goals

The Research Council was established over 10 years ago as an advisory body to the Vice Chancellor Health Sciences. Its goals are to:

  • Address global issues of research
  • Help synergize research efforts within the Health Sciences professional schools
  • Foster research initiatives that bridge to other parts of campus
  • Identify and foster interactions and/or collaborations with other institutions and organizations

The Research Council has accomplished many things during its history. These include:

  • Worked to bring together and facilitate new genomics initiatives
  • Built bridges to Cal-IT2, SIO, main campus, and San Diego Super Computer
  • Helped to launch stem cell initiative that grew into the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, involving many institutions on the La Jolla mesa
  • Highlighted new initiatives in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Helped to recruit new faculty and to make potential recruits aware of the enormous interdisciplinary opportunities that the UC San Diego campus has to offer
  • Worked to establish Health Sciences’ global research priorities for the next five to ten years

The Research Council continues to act in most of these areas. Recently the Research Council has begun working to build collaborations with the J.C. Venter Institute with the intention of expanding UC San Diego Health Sciences’ presence in genomic medicine and to better understand how microbial and human genomes co-exist. Additionally, the Council is working to fold the La Jolla Institute of Allergy and Immunology more closely into UC San Diego’s research enterprise. New chairs are routinely invited to introduce themselves and to share their vision at Research Council meetings. The Research Council has also worked to develop novel cross-disciplinary training grants that bridge basic and clinical science such as the novel trans-NIH Translational Training Grant.

Establishment and Organization

The Research Council was originally established as part of a strategic planning process to address a need that was not filled by any existing committee. The original organization intended the Council to be formed of top research faculty representing junior and senior faculty, and basic and clinical research. Five faculty were elected originally and the chair (S. Taylor) and vice chair (M. Ziegler) were elected from these five. Over the years, additional faculty were appointed to the Research Council based on each person’s area of expertise. The Council may return to electing members over the next few years.

Throughout the course of the next several years new members were added to bring additional strength and input to the discussions of the Research Council.

As part of the original organization, three departmental chairs were included as ad hoc members of the Council. Currently, Wolfgang Dillmann as Chair of Medicine and Gaby Haddad as Chair of Pediatrics provide interface with the chairs of the other clinical Departments.

When Jack Dixon was appointed as Dean for Scientific Affairs, the members of the Research Council Steering Committee worked with the Vice Chancellor to further strengthen the Research Council. The goal of the Research Council continues to be to build stronger ties with the research community and to broaden lines of communication. The Council hopes to find ways to implement ideas that emerge from the Research Council discussions. The Council is especially anxious to take advantage of new funding opportunities that come forward from NIH and from foundations.

The Research Council is an evolving but active and dynamic group that will hopefully help to articulate and achieve some of the shared visions on this exciting campus. In addition to our monthly meetings, held on the first Wednesday of every month beginning October 2010, the Executive Committee tries to meet regularly with the Vice Chancellor Health Sciences and with the Dean of the School of Pharmacy and Pharmacological Sciences.