Kieburtz Appointed to Oversee URMC Clinical Research

August 08, 2013

Karl Kieburtz, M.D., M.P.H. has been tapped to serve as director of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) and to serve as the senior associate dean for Clinical Research. The appointment will be effective September 1, 2013.

Kieburtz will replace Thomas Pearson, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D. who is leaving URMC for a position at the University of Florida. The appointment as CTSI director is pending final approval from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 

“As one of the leading academic experts in the design and operation of clinical trials, Dr. Kieburtz is the obvious choice to build upon the Medical Center’s history as an innovative national leader in the field of experimental therapeutics and translational medicine,” said Mark Taubman, M.D., dean of the URMC School of Medicine and Dentistry. “We are deeply grateful that he has accepted this new leadership role and I look forward to working with him to continue to strengthen and grow our clinical research enterprise.”

 “The Medical Center has a strong track record of translating research and discovery into better health,” said Kieburtz.   “Thanks to the contributions of many individuals, especially Dr. Pearson, we have already come a long way to assembling and coordinating the training programs, expertise, and resources necessary to shepherd the next generation of medical innovation. The challenge moving forward will be to build and strengthen partnerships with the community and other clinical and translational research institutions so that we can achieve the scale necessary to advance medical innovation and improve the health of communities.”

In 2006, URMC was one of the first 12 institutions to be accepted by the NIH for its translational research initiative and the $40 million grant still stands among the largest in the Medical Center’s history.  NIH support for the program was renewed in 2011. 

The URMC CTSI provides researchers with a comprehensive and integrated set of services, expertise, and resources necessary to carry out all phases of translational research from the point where a new idea is first evaluated in people all the way to its adoption on a community-wide scale to improve health. 

In June, the Institute of Medicine released a report on the Clinical and Translational Science Award program that called upon the NIH to strengthen its leadership, reconfigure its organization, standardize the evaluation of centers, increase collaboration, ramp up its engagement with communities and patients, and expand innovation in education and training.

“URMC is well positioned to help reshape and lead the CTSA program on a national level,” said Kieburtz. “The IOM report outlined several areas – including community engagement and education and training – where we are already in the vanguard.”

Kieburtz, the Robert J. Joynt Professor in Neurology, is the director of the Center for Human Experimental Therapeutics (CHET), a position he will retain. CHET is a unique academic-based center that full offers a full array of services and scientific expertise essential to the conduct of early, learning phase clinical trials for industry, foundations, and government sponsors. 

Kieburtz – who has been with URMC since 1985 – has helped establish networks of investigators that serve as the hub for many of the world’s largest studies of new treatments for neurological conditions. The groups serve as models of collaboration, bringing together hundreds of investigators from dozens of global sites to work together in the search for new treatments for neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases.

More broadly, Kieburtz is an expert on the design and implementation of large-scale, multi-site clinical studies. He has served as chair of the FDA Peripheral and Central Nervous System Drugs Advisory Committee, and he is an active consultant to the FDA and NIH, as well as industry.

Kieburtz received his M.D. and M.P.H. degrees from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and conducted his medical training at Strong Memorial and Highland Hospitals.

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