UCI School of Medicine - From the Office of the Dean
Dear colleagues:

It is with great pleasure that we announce Eric Vilain, MD, PhD, will be joining the University of California, Irvine as professor in the School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics, associate vice chancellor for Clinical and Translational Research, and director of the Institute for Clinical Translational Sciences (ICTS), beginning October 15, 2022. Dr. Vilain will be succeeding Dan M. Cooper, MD, who is stepping down from his role as ICTS director, after 12 years of exceptional service in this capacity. Drs. Cooper and Vilain will be working closely together to ensure smooth continuation of all ICTS activities and in the successful preparation of our CTSA application for the next funding cycle.

We would like to thank the search committee for their outstanding effort in securing such an accomplished, inspirational new leader.

Dr. Vilain comes to UCI with over 20 years of experience overseeing large collaborative research and innovation projects, leading a clinical division, chairing a medical school department, spearheading global healthcare initiatives, and a passion for data-driven transformative research. He currently serves as the James A. Clark Distinguished Professor of Molecular Genetics, Children’s National Medical Center, Director, Center for Genetic Medicine Research, Children’s National Medical Center, Professor and Chair, Department of Genomics and Precision Medicine, George Washington University, and Faculty Mentor, Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale, Kinshasa, DR Congo.

Previously, Dr. Vilain served in multiple roles at UCLA, including program director for an Intercampus Medical Genetics Training Grant (T32), co-director for the Clinical Genomics Center, director for the Center for Gender-Based Biology, professor in the Departments of Human Genetics, Pediatrics and Urology, member of the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center, division chief for  Medical Genetics in the Department of Pediatrics, faculty member for the Neuroscience Inter Departmental Program, principal investigator in the Human Genetics Laboratory, and attending physician for UCLA’s Outpatient Medical Genetics Clinic and Inpatient Medical Genetics Consultation Service.

Dr. Vilain has earned many awards and received worldwide recognition for his work in genetics. Among the awards he received are the 2015 March of Dimes Pruzanksy Lecture Award, 2011 E. Mead Johnson Award for Pediatric Research, 2008 Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, 2002 Basil O’Connor Award from the March of Dimes, 1996 David Smith Award from the Western Society for Pediatric Research, and the 1995 Award from the International Academy of Pathology.

Dr. Vilain earned his MD from the Faculté de Médecine Necker Enfants Malades, Paris, and his PhD in genetics from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie/Pasteur Institute. He did a residency in Pediatric Endocrinology and Pediatric Genetics with the Paris Hospital System and his graduate work on the genetics of sex determination in humans at the Pasteur Institute, Paris, France.

Among the primary responsibilities in his new role, Dr. Vilain will lead our ICTS ensuring that it enables the broad Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) mission as envisioned by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He will facilitate all categories of NIH funding made possible only to those institutions with funded CTSAs for training, special projects, supplemental grants and translational research. He will work with leaders across our institution and will play an active role in increasing UCI’s portfolio of NIH funding by providing support, guidance, and oversight for applications that enhance the translational science mission of the ICTS and the CTSA program.

It is clear, Dr. Vilain has a highly impressive list of accomplishments and credentials. What is also clear is that it required this caliber of person to replace Dr. Cooper.

Dr. Cooper joined UCI in 1997 and has become a pillar of our university community, and of the School of Medicine in particular.  He is a professor of pediatrics at the UCI School of Medicine, associate vice chancellor of clinical and translational research, and founding director of the Institute for Clinical Translational Science. He will continue his work in pediatrics and clinical and translational research.

Throughout his career, Dr. Cooper has focused his research efforts on how exercise and physical activity can be used to benefit children with chronic conditions like asthma, sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis, obesity, heart disease and metabolic syndromes like diabetes. He has taken particular interest in new therapies involving both pharmacologic and lifestyle interventions.

He has also been responsible for securing and renewing, three times in a row, the CTSA grant from NIH that funds the Institute for Clinical & Translational Science at UCI. Continuation of this grant enables UCI to turn science into care and translate discovery into cures. The funding also enables UCI to expand the reach of our clinical research to diverse communities, setting new standards for clinical research in the U.S. for a generation to come.

We thank Dr. Cooper for his groundbreaking work as director of the ICTS and we welcome Dr. Vilain, a visionary scientist and distinguished scholar. Please join us in celebrating and congratulating both our esteemed colleagues.


UCI School of Medicine Dean Michael J. Stamos, MD, FACS, FASCRS

Vice Chancellor for Research Pramod P. Khargonekar, PhD

Vice Chancellor Steve Goldstein, MA, MD, PhD, FAAP

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