Kevin Grimes

Kevin Grimes, MD, MA, MBA, Associate Professor, Department of Chemical and Systems Biology; Co-Director, SPARK Translational Research Program, Stanford University School of Medicine


Research Description: Dr. Grimes has a unique set of activities including research, translational science development, and education. His research focus in diabetes has been to investigate impacts of dietary non-canonical amino acids on human autoimmune disease, specifically focusing on type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D) and multiple sclerosis (MS). His collaborative team has demonstrated that dietary azetidine-2-carboxylic acid (Aze), a plant amino acid, enters human proteins in place of proline, causing cellular stress and an autoimmune response in individuals with predisposing MHC types. They are testing if Aze may increase risk for developing T1D and MS. As co-director of the Stanford CTSA-supported SPARK program for over the past ten years, he has established a collaborative program with the threefold mission of: 1) educating faculty, postdoctoral fellows and students regarding the translational research process; 2) advancing promising Stanford research discoveries into novel drugs and diagnostics for patients with unmet medical needs; and 3) identifying and proposing solutions to hurdles in the drug development process in order to make the process more efficient in bringing needed therapies to patients. The SPARK program provides participating project teams with modest funding, education regarding the applied science of drug/diagnostic development and commercialization, project-specific mentorship, and a project management approach. SPARK programs enlist a cadre of over ninety senior biopharmaceutical industry and health investment volunteers who are actively engaged in project mentorship. In the past ten years, over thirty-one SPARK projects have entered clinical study, twenty-four have been licensed to start-up companies, and twelve have been transferred to existing companies, including projects from SDRC investigators. Stanford SPARK has shared their approach with over twenty academic institutions (both domestic and international) that have started programs similar to SPARK. Dr. Grimes and his co-director have published a textbook on academic drug development to assist other institutions in this endeavor. SPARK is a paradigm of productive relationships between academia and industry to promote education and translational research with tangible clinical outcomes.

Selected relevant publications (Stanford DRC Members in BOLD):

  1. Mochly-Rosen D, Grimes K (ed.) A Practical Guide to Drug Development in Academia: the SPARK Approach. Springer. 2014
  2. U.S. Utility Patent Application: Inventors:  Edward Rubenstein & Kevin Grimes; Title: Compositions, systems and methods for the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of disorders associated with azetidine-2-carboxylic acid. Serial No.: 14/139,233; Filing Date:  December 23, 2013; Stanford No.: S06-079; T|H Docket No.:  221907-1093
  3. Mochly-Rosen D, Das K, Grimes KV. Protein kinase c, an elusive therapeutic target? Nat Rev Drug Discov 2012; 11:937-57
  4. Mochly-Rosen D, Grimes KV. Myocardial salvage in acute myocardial infarction – challenges in clinical translation. J Mol Cell Cardiol 2011; 51:451-3