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Expert in Rheumatoid Arthritis, Gary Firestein, Honored by Johns Hopkins Alumni Association - 05/31/2012

Expert in Rheumatoid Arthritis, Gary Firestein, Honored by Johns Hopkins Alumni Association

Release Date: May 31, 2012

Physician-scientist Gary S. Firestein, M.D., an internationally renowned authority on rheumatoid arthritis, will receive a 2012 Distinguished Alumnus Award for scientific achievement from the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association.  Firestein, a graduate of Johns Hopkins’ School of Medicine (Class of ’80) is currently dean and associate vice chancellor of translational medicine at University of California San Diego (UCSD); he was previously UCSD’s chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology. Firestein will receive his Johns Hopkins award along with two other distinguished recipients, Chi Van Dang, M.D., Ph.D. (Class of ’82), and Gerald P. Bodey, M.D. (Class of ’60), at the Johns Hopkins Medical & Surgical Association’s next biennial meeting in June 2013.

“For over three decades, Gary Firestein has dedicated his career to researching treatments to reduce inflammation and stop disease progression among arthritis sufferers,” says Edward D. Miller, M.D., dean of the medical faculty at Johns Hopkins and chief executive officer of Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Gary has been honored for his accomplishments by numerous humanitarian and medical associations, and I am delighted to add to his list of accolades on behalf of his alma mater.  All graduates of Johns Hopkins’ School of Medicine would do well to follow his lead.”

The Distinguished Alumnus Award honors Johns Hopkins alumni who have excelled in the world and brought credit to the University through personal accomplishment, professional achievement or humanitarian service.

Firestein, who is also a professor of medicine at UCSD and director of its Clinical and Translational Research Institute, has for over a decade led UCSD’s scientific efforts to understand and treat arthritis.  His major research interests have focused on the molecular pathways behind joint destruction in rheumatoid arthritis, and he was among the first scientists to map the key roles played by immune system signaling proteins and other chemicals in damaging joint tissue.  Firestein’s research, in addition to his work in the biotech industry, has led to the development of highly effective anti-inflammatory drugs.  He has also directed numerous clinical trials for the treatment of osteoarthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus and scleroderma.  Included in his many published works, Firestein serves as editor in chief of the definitive Kelley Textbook of Rheumatology.

Firestein received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University in 1976 before starting his medical training at Johns Hopkins. He then completed his training in internal medicine at UCLA Medical Center, and in rheumatology at UCSD, where, in 1988, he joined the faculty.  Firestein later moved to Gensia Inc., where he supervised drug discovery efforts, before returning to UCSD in 1996.   

For the Media

Media contact: David March