Dr. Kirk Knowlton Appointed Vice Chair for Laboratory Research

Dr. Kirk KnowltonDr. Kirk Knowlton has been appointed Vice Chair for Laboratory Research for the Department of Medicine, Interim Chair Wolfgang Dillmann, MD, has announced.

Knowlton, Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Cardiology, holds the Edith and William Perlman Chair in Clinical Cardiology.

A physician-scientist, he is an esteemed academic leader, clinician, innovator, and mentor. He has been a member of the department faculty since he was a molecular cardiology research fellow at UC San Diego in 1990.

“Kirk’s experience and insight will benefit the department’s research mission greatly, particularly at this time of expansion,” said Dillmann. “With laboratory research playing so large a part in the success of the department, it is crucial to have an outstanding leader.”

Knowlton will direct research activities and space management for Medicine, the largest department in the School of Medicine. In fiscal year 2010-2011, Medicine received $113.6 million in research funding via nearly 380 individual contracts and grants.

The Department of Medicine is consistently one of the top in the nation in federal research funding per faculty member. In research funding from the National Institutes of Health in 2010, the Department ranks eighth in the nation.

The Department occupies 120,000 square feet of laboratory space and anticipates significantly more in the next several years as UC San Diego Health Sciences buildings now in the planning stages are erected.

Knowlton will spearhead the new Department of Medicine Research Council, which will synchronize research efforts within the department and the larger research community, coordinate responses to new funding opportunities, and provide mentorship for junior faculty.

Knowlton will also continue as Chief of the Division of Cardiology, Dillmann said.

Kirk U. Knowlton, MD, FACC, became Cardiology’s division chief in 2004 and assumed the Edith and William Perlman Chair in Clinical Cardiology in 2010.

A general cardiologist, Knowlton plays central clinical roles in diagnostic imaging and noninvasive cardiology and pulmonary thromboendarterectomy in the Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center. In addition, he has a special clinical interest in infectious causes of heart failure such as viral myocarditis.

In his most recent research in molecular cardiology, he is studying mechanisms involved in the formation of intercalated discs to understand the means by which virus infection of the cardiac myocyte can cause dilated cardiomyopathy.

Knowlton is principal investigator of a program project, “Molecular Pathways for Hypertrophy and Cardiomyopathy, and a training grant, “Training in Cardiovascular Physiology and Pharmacology,” both funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Knowlton co-directs the Cardiac Biomedical Science and Engineering Center of the UC San Diego Institute for Engineering in Medicine, a collaborative effort centered on developing new means of understanding, detecting and countering cardiac diseases.

At UC San Diego, in the surrounding community, and at the national level, Knowlton is involved in numerous positions of leadership and service. He is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology, an elected senior member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and Associate Editor of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

He has been recognized as one of the Best Doctors in America each year since 2003.

Active in the American Heart Association, he was recognized as 2010-2011 Western States Affiliate Physician Volunteer of the Year. He was nominated for the UCSD School of Medicine Kaiser Permanente Excellence in Teaching Award for the past two years.