Scripps Health Recruits Renown Cardiologist
Dr. Eric Topol in January 2007 will assume leadership of a new research institute at Scripps Health in San Diego, a move that Scripps leaders hope will highlight the hospital system's work in cardiology, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports (Clark, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/25). Scripps on Monday announced that upon his transition to Scripps in January, Topol will become:
- Chief academic officer;
- Senior consultant in cardiology at Scripps Clinic;
- Chief of genomic medicine; and
- Director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute, a new research center.
Topol and Scripps Health CEO Chris Van Gorder declined to specify how much it would cost to establish the Translational Science Institute.
Topol also said he hopes to transfer to Scripps work from two NIH-funded projects he oversees. The projects are focused on identifying genetic indications and molecular changes that can lead to heart attacks and muscle failure. NIH has provided about $30 million to the projects.
According to the Union-Tribune, Topol's arrival at Scripps and the new Translational Science Institute could increase competition in cardiology with the University of California-San Diego, which is building its own cardiovascular center (San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/25).
Topol currently serves as a professor of genetics at Case Western Reserve University's School of Medicine in Cleveland. He moved to Case Western after Cleveland Clinic -- where he served as chief of cardiology beginning in 1991 -- in early 2006 dissolved his dual position of chief academic officer and provost.
Topol was named to the Institute of Medicine in 2004.
Topol was an early critic of Merck's Vioxx and has testified in trials against the drug maker (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/25). However, Cleveland Clinic was critical of Topol's action on Vioxx after it became known that he had served as a paid adviser to a hedge fund that profited from investments speculating that Merck's stock price would decline shortly before Vioxx was pulled from the market.
Topol said he was unaware of the transaction and ended his work in the hedge fund industry (San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/25).