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Community Celebrates Groundbreaking of Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute Facility

Shovel Ceremony – from left to right: Steve Relyea (Vice Chancellor, External and Business Affairs), Gabriel Haddad (MD, Chair of the UC San Diego Department of Pediatrics and Physician-In-Chief of Rady Children’s Hospital – San Diego), Paul Viviano (CEO, UC San Diego Health System), David Brenner (MD, Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences and Dean of the UC San Diego School of Medicine), Lisa Altman, Steve Altman, Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla, Lindsay Altman (daughter), Jessie Altman (daughter), Gary Firestein, MD, Director of the Clinical and Translational Research Institute, and Andy Altman (son)

University leaders, philanthropists and community members gathered Thursday to celebrate the official start of construction on the Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTRI) building, and to show gratitude to the family whose generosity has helped to make the state-of-the-art building possible.

Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla

Set to open in 2016, the Altman CTRI will accelerate efforts to deliver new drugs, technologies and procedures to patients who need them most, speakers said. Its location, footsteps from many clinical facilities on the UC San Diego Health System campus in La Jolla, makes it one of only a handful of such centers in the nation.

“This is a building that is going to be a bridge to our future; where we are going to define new cures, where we are going to define how medicine should be practiced,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla.

The building is named for San Diego philanthropists and longtime residents Lisa and Steve Altman, who have pledged $10 million toward its construction. Steve Altman is vice chairman of Qualcomm, Inc.; he and his wife, Lisa, have been generous patrons of many local and national charities.

The Altmans’ gift was inspired by the prevalence of type 1 diabetes in their family. Two of the Altmans’ three children have the disease, and multiple other family members have lived with diabetes since childhood. The Altman CTRI building will be the new home of the UC San Diego Pediatric Diabetes Research Center, and it will welcome patients taking part in clinical trials.

“Other than marrying my wife, Lisa, this was the biggest no-brainer thing for us to do in our lives,” Steve Altman said. “To get these kinds of capabilities here in San Diego, at such a fine institution with so much talent, and putting it all together, it’s something that’s clearly of great need.”

The Altmans were toasted by friend Rich Sulpizio, whose family made a leadership gift to name the Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center, which opened in 2011. Steve Altman and Rich Sulpizio have been longtime colleagues at Qualcomm, Inc. Steve Altman shared that he was delighted that the Altman CTRI would be connected to the Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center by a bridge – a lasting symbol of the connection between the two families.

Based on the idea that solving today’s complex medical challenges requires an innovative approach, the facility unites laboratory and clinical researchers with shared resources to support their work in space designed to encourage collaboration. The discoveries that will emerge will benefit patients everywhere.

Steve Altman and Gary Firestein with the CTRI model

“That’s what makes this the opportunity of a lifetime,” said UC San Diego Health System CEO Paul Viviano.

UC San Diego is uniquely positioned to host such a center because of its collaborative spirit, talented faculty and staff and its location in the midst of a high concentration of world-class public and private research institutions.

“A facility like this could not exist anywhere else in our region,” said Dr. David A. Brenner, Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences and Dean of the UC San Diego School of Medicine. “In fact, there are only a handful of places across the nation where it could be successful. I feel lucky to live and work in such a place.”

Dr. Gary Firestein, Director of the Clinical and Translational Research Institute emceed the event, which included comments from Chancellor Khosla, Vice Chancellor Brenner, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, UC San Diego Health System CEO Paul Viviano and Dr. Gabriel Haddad, Chair of the UC San Diego Department of Pediatrics and Physician-In-Chief of Rady Children’s Hospital – San Diego.

About the Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute Building

Opening Date: 2016 | Cost: $269M | Size: 359,000 GSF

Architect: Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects LLP, Los Angeles (ZGF)

Project Includes:

  • 7-story building
  • Wet and dry research labs
  • Clinical research area
  • Lab support and office space
  • Auditorium, café
  • Targeting LEED Silver Certification

Future Occupants: Biomedical informatics specialists; specialists in telemedicine and electronic health record technology; imaging specialists; biomedical engineers; clinical researchers and staff; population researchers; and core services such as and biomarker analysis.