San Diego State University announced today that it has appointed renowned heart researcher Dr. Roberta Gottlieb director of the new SDSU BioScience Center. Formerly of The Scripps Research Institute, Gottlieb will lead the center starting this fall as the Frederick G. Henry Chair in Life Sciences.
Gottlieb received her bachelor’s and medical degrees from The Johns Hopkins University. She has published widely in the premier journals of science, has contributed more than 30 book chapters and has lectured throughout the world. Gottlieb serves on National Institute of Health and American Heart Association study sections and on the editorial boards of four major cardiovascular research journals. She is principal investigator on three active NIH grants.
At TSRI, Dr. Gottlieb served as associate professor in the Hematology Division of the Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine. Her research focuses on programmed heart cell death, and specifically on identifying biochemical events during cell death induced by myocardial ischemia (inadequate blood flow that leads to oxygen deprivation). These biochemical events may serve as targets of therapeutic intervention.
"I have two goals for the BioScience Center," Gottlieb said. "The first is to do excellent scientific research in the connections between infection, inflammation and heart diseases. The second is an extension of the university’s mission—teaching scientists how to become leaders in their fields by creating an environment where they are inspired to do great science and are mentored to become great scientists."
Earlier this year, Gottlieb helped SDSU Heart Institute researchers secure a major grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, part of the NIH. The $10 million grant will fund a five-year study examining how protecting mitochondria, the cell’s energy centers, can preserve heart cells during a heart attack. Gottlieb will now move her research component of that major award to SDSU.
The BioScience Center director position is endowed by a $3 million gift from the estate of Frederick G. Henry, an SDSU alumnus who served as a communications officer in the U.S. Navy. Henry passed away on June 17, about 18 months after making his donation to the university.
"Fred Henry wanted us to find a talented researcher who would lead SDSU’s health-related research to national prominence," said Thomas Scott, SDSU vice president for Research. "We did a national search to find the first Henry Chair in Life Sciences, and I’m sure he’d be very happy that the search brought us Dr. Gottlieb."
Scott added that Gottlieb’s abilities go well beyond leadership in the laboratory.
"Dr. Gottlieb is already well-known in the local scientific community, and that recognition will assist our seeking the private philanthropy necessary to realize the potential of the BioScience Center," he said.
The SDSU BioScience Center is an innovative research facility whose scientists study the links between infectious and heart diseases. With more than 33,000 square feet of usable space, the center will feature three floors of research laboratories, offices and the 100-seat Alan and Debbie Gold Auditorium for the Life Sciences. The BioScience Center opened in March, with the first lab coming on line this fall. In all, more than a dozen researchers are affiliated with the SDSU BioScience Center.