Pharmaceutical Researcher Chosen to Lead New Office of Translational Science

S. David Kimball, a research professor in the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, has been appointed as the first associate vice president for translational science in the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development.

Focused on building interdisciplinary collaboration across the molecular, structural, imaging, and biomedical sciences, the Office of Translational Science (OTS) looks to create value in biomedical research at Rutgers both internally—to enable competitive preliminary data for grants and other sources of funding—and to build the interface between Rutgers and the private sector. In particular, the outward-facing efforts of the office aim to enable and build the success of local biotechnology and biomedical companies. The OTS currently is collaborating with faculty in the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, the school of pharmacy and several local biotech companies.

Kenneth J. Breslauer, Linus C. Pauling professor of chemistry and chemical biology and interim vice president for research and economic development, commented: “David is an accomplished scientist with extensive research and management experience within the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, as well as a deep understanding of the academic environment. In fact, he has been associated with the Rutgers graduate faculty since 1989. As such, David is ideally suited for designing, developing, and directing collaborative public-private partnerships. His multiple skills, derived from broad and diverse high-level experiences, make him exceptionally well-prepared to address the challenges and opportunities associated with this important new position.”

The Office will be creating a Center for Translational Science, which will be a functional consortium of biomedical capability across Rutgers and will involve outside academic and industrial collaborators. Once formed, the center will join the Academic Drug Discovery Consortium, a national organization composed of 83 centers, mostly at U.S. universities, including Penn, Stanford, and Vanderbilt. Rutgers’ Center for Translational Science will be the first such center in New Jersey.

Kimball earned his doctorate in organic chemistry and chemical biology from Stony Brook University in 1982 and then relocated to New Jersey, where he was a research fellow at Bristol-Myers Squibb.  After 19 years at BMS, he moved to the biopharmaceutical industry as vice president of medicinal chemistry at Lexicon Pharmaceuticals from 2001 to 2007, senior vice president for drug discovery and nonclinical development at Pharmacopeia in 2007-2008, and chief scientific officer at Hydra Biosciences from 2008 to 2011, when he joined Rutgers University.

Kimball’s research career has focused on the discovery of novel small molecule treatments for human disease, spanning cardiovascular disease, metabolic disease, inflammation, oncology, neuroscience, and pain. These research projects have applied all of the appropriate tools to solve challenging drug-discovery and development problems, including structure-based design, parallel synthesis, design and implementation of high-throughput and phenotypic screening, the evaluation of knockout mouse phenotypes to identify novel drug targets, preclinical toxicology, safety assessment, and manufacturing.

Kimball’s current research interests include the role of ApoE in Alzheimer’s disease and traumatic brain injury and the structure-based design of kinase inhibitors for cancer and inflammatory disease. (9/10/13)