CSU hires first chief medical research officer

Heather Pidcoke, CSU chief medical research officer
Dr. Heather Pidcoke

As Colorado State University continues to expand its medical research enterprise, Dr. Heather Pidcoke has been named the university’s first chief medical research officer and Translational Medicine Institute (TMI) associate director of research.

The Office of the Vice President for Research and the TMI announced this appointment effective April 1, 2019. Translational medicine ensures that clinical solutions are broadly tested and shared between animal and human researchers.

CSU is growing its medical research enterprise across campus with recent investments in regenerative medicine, infectious disease, cancer and healthy aging. Campus assets in translational medicine are significant, including the Translational Medicine Institute, Infectious Disease Research Center, the Orthopaedic Research Center, the Flint Animal Cancer Center and BioMARC, a biomanufacturing facility.

“We are excited to have Heather joining our team,” said David Frisbie, professor of clinical sciences and director of operation at the Translational Medicine Institute. “Her well-rounded experience in the human medical, academic and industry circles is just what the Translational Medicine Institute was looking for in an associate director of research.”

Pidcoke will oversee the translational medical activities, including those in the new TMI building, a 130,000-square-foot facility at CSU with capabilities to engage in experimental surgical procedures and hands-on experiential learning. The space provides a safe, secure facility for university investigators, government scientists and industry representatives to collaboratively research translational medicine with a focus on stem cell research.

In her position, Pidcoke will identify funding opportunities, maintain facilities and identify and support the use of novel research techniques, all of which will help grow the translational medicine initiative and keep CSU on the leading edge of scientific discovery.

Considerable industry and academic experience

“We are excited to add our first chief medical research officer to CSU,” said Alan Rudolph, vice president for research. “Dr. Pidcoke brings considerable industry and academic experience to our increasing portfolio in translational medicine and will help expand our medical research programs from bench to bedside as well as increase our regulatory and compliance infrastructure.”

Pidcoke’s translational research interests include trauma care and new transfusion products created to improve the resuscitation of patients who have lost large amounts of blood. She also is an expert in the field of remote damage control resuscitation and the use of blood in critical medical situations. Prior to joining TMI, Pidcoke served as chief medical officer of Cellphire, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on developing freeze-dried blood which allows for platelet stabilization.

Before joining Cellphire, Pidcoke was at Terumo BCT, where she was the principal investigator for four blood product development efforts. Pidcoke also served as the deputy task area manager and research physiologist in the Coagulation and Blood Research program at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research in San Antonio, Texas. She also held the position of adjunct professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Texas, Health Science Center.

Pidcoke has been recognized on a national level for her contributions in advancing medical research for military personnel. She received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in May 2016. Pidcoke said she plans to apply her broad medical experience to help the TMI achieve its mission by promoting customer-focused, multidisciplinary translational medical research.

She has a Ph.D. of physiology and a Master of Science in clinical investigation from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Pidcoke also received her Doctor of Medicine from the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine.