University of California Center for Accelerated Innovation

Leadership & Goals


UC CAI Mission and Goals

The mission of the University of California Center for Accelerated Innovation (UC CAI), a collaboration of the five UC medical campuses, is to translate NHLBI- and NIDA-funded discoveries to improve health and health care and address unmet medical needs. The transition is accelerated by applying business and product-development practices from the biomedical industry to advance the most promising technologies toward commercialization. The CAI is based at UCLA.

UC CAI has four goals.

Goal 1: Engage University of California research innovators in entrepreneurism through a comprehensive education, training and mentorship program.

Goal 2: Solicit and select technologies with high commercial potential that align with the NIH Institute’s mission and address unmet medical needs or significant scientific opportunity.

Goal 3: Incubate our most promising technologies in accordance with industry requirements to facilitate their translation to commercial products that improve patient care and enhance health.

Goal 4: Create a high-performing, sustainable infrastructure that will serve as a model to academic research centers.

UC CAI Partners

UC CAI is a partnership of the five UC medical campuses. Each campus has received a Clinical and Translational Science Award from NIH; CTSA infrastructure on all five campuses supports the CAI.

UC Davis

The UC Davis Health System, comprised of the UC Davis School of Medicine (SOM) and UC Davis Medical Center, is nationally recognized and excels at translating scientific discoveries and new technologies into improved patient care and community-wide health. Faculty members in the School of Medicine specialize in a wide range of basic and applied research. More than 350 research studies are currently underway in the School of Medicine facilities in Davis and at the Medical Center in Sacramento, funded by federal, state, foundation, and pharmaceutical/biotechnology sources. The UC Davis School of Medicine also collaborates with several affiliated research institutions, such as Shriners Hospital for Children, Veterans Affairs Northern California Health Care System, USDA Western Human Nutrition Research Center, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. In addition, School of Medicine faculty are engaged in innovative collaborations with the California Regional Primate Research Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, Division of Biological Sciences, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and College of Engineering.

UC Irvine

Ranked as one of the top 50 U.S. medical schools for research by U.S. News & World Report, UC Irvine School of Medicine annually educates more than 400 medical students and trains more than 600 residents and fellows at UC Irvine Medical Center and affiliated institutions. The school’s 560 full-time and 1,300 volunteer faculty members are involved in teaching, providing medical care and conducting research into the health challenges facing the 21st century. The school has 26 departments, ranging from basic science research to clinical medical and surgical specialties. It has research, clinical and teaching relationships with the VA Long Beach Healthcare System and Long Beach Memorial Medical Center.


The David Geffen School of Medicine has more than 2,000 full-time faculty members, almost 1,300 residents, more than 750 medical students and almost 400 Ph.D. candidates. The UCLA Medical Center has been ranked "Best in the West" by U.S. News and World Report's annual survey of the best hospitals in America for fourteen consecutive years. The medical school is ranked ninth in the country in research funding from the National Institutes of Health and third in the United States in research dollars from all sources. The Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center opened its doors in 2008 and is a model for state-of-the-art medical science and patient care in a patient- and staff-friendly environment. The new Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center replacement hospital also opened its doors in 2008.

UC San Diego

UC San Diego School of Medicine, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, UCSD Medical Center and UCSD Medical Group together have more than 900 faculty physicians, pharmacists and scientists; 7,500 staff; 600 medical and pharmacy students, and a health system that cares for approximately 125,000 patients annually.

UC San Francisco

Founded nearly 150 years ago, UCSF is the only campus in the 10-campus UC system dedicated exclusively to the health sciences. All four UCSF professional schools, virtually all UCSF graduate programs, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital consistently rank among the best in the country, according to the latest surveys by US News & World Report. Ranked first among US medical schools in NIH dollars awarded, the medical school has 2,072 full-time and 126 part-time faculty.

UC CAI Advisory Boards

External Advisory Board

The External Advisory Board (EAB) is highly expert in development of therapeutics, biomedical devices, diagnostics and tools. They possess senior-level management experience in operations, product development or business development at biomedical companies or have been senior financial, legal or management advisors to biomedical firms. An NHLBI representative also participates on the External Advisory Board. The EAB reviews Center operations, provides guidance on future directions of the Center and facilitates access to non-federal resources.

EAB Members:

  • Francis G. Duhay, MD is Vice President, Medical Affairs and Chief Medical Director of Edwards Lifesciences, and a board certified general and cardiothoracic surgeon.
  • Catherine J. Mackey, PhD is founder of MindPiece Partners, a management consultancy to life sciences firms, and a former Senior Vice President of Worldwide Research and Development for Pfizer.
  • Larry Souza, PhD is a founder and former Managing Director of Coastview Capital, a Los Angeles venture capital firm, and former Senior Vice President for Research at Amgen.

Business Review Panel

The Business Review Panel is comprised of faculty with history of excellence in organizational research and specific expertise in business transformation. The panel is charged with evaluating the Center’s process and progress toward developing a self-sustaining business model.

Business Review Panel Chair:

  • William G. Ouchi, PhD, the Sanford and Betty Sigoloff Chair in Corporate Renewal at UCLA, specializes in management and organization design and is author of the New York Times bestseller "Theory Z: How American Management Can Meet the Japanese Challenge" (Addison-Wesley, 1981).

UC CAI Administration

Elvira Liclican, PhD    

National CAI Consortium

With support from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the UC CAI advances early-stage drugs, devices and diagnostics toward commercialization to enhance health, lengthen life and reduce illness and disability.

Innovators receive pilot funds, mentorship and project-management support to develop their technologies. UC CAI is part of a prestigious, national consortium of academic innovators that includes Harvard University and Cleveland Clinic.