Gary S. Firestein, MD is Founding Director of the Clinical and Translational Research Institute and the Senior Associate Vice Chancellor of Health Sciences at UC San Diego. Dr. Firestein joined the faculty at UCSD School of Medicine as Assistant Professor of Medicine in 1988. Four years later, he was recruited by Gensia, Inc. to be Director of Immunology where he supervised drug discovery efforts focusing on the potential role of purines in inflammation. In 1996, he returned to UCSD where he served as chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology from 1998 until 2010.
Dr. Firestein’s research interest focuses on the pathogenesis and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. He was among the first to map the cytokine profile of RA 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 RA. More recently, he helped define the role of signal transduction and epigenetics in RA. In 1998, Dr. Firestein received the Carol-Nachman Prize, which is an international award given for outstanding contributions to rheumatology research. In 2006 and 2009, he received the Arthritis Foundation Lee C. Howley Sr Prize for Arthritis Research and the American College of Rheumatology Distinguished Investigator Award, respectively. Dr. Firestein received the Arthritis Foundation’s Jane Wyman Humanitarian Award in 2010 for contributions to rheumatology. He has been elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians. In 2019, he received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Glasgow.
Dr. Firestein has written over 370 articles and chapters and has edited or written several books. He served as the Deputy Editor of Arthritis & Rheumatism and is the Editor-in-Chief of the Firestein and Kelley’s Textbook of Rheumatology. He was chairperson of the FDA Arthritis Advisory Committee and has served on the ACR Committee on Research, the ACR Committee on Journal Publications, the ACR Committee on Nominations, the Arthritis Foundation Research Committee, NIAMS Advisory Council and the Board of Directors of the Veteran’s Medical Research Foundation, ACR Rheumatology Research Foundation, and the American College of Rheumatology.