Thomas Savides, MD, Named Chief Experience Officer for UC San Diego Health System

Thomas Savides, MD, has been named as the first Chief Experience Officer at UC San Diego Health System. In the newly created role, Savides will be responsible for the strategy, leadership and implementation of the plan to improve the total health care experience of patients, families, providers and staff. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Why Typhoid Fever Is Human Specific: Dr. Ajit Varki and Coworkers Discover One Explanation

Typhoid Mary, Not Typhoid Mouse: Lack of enzyme explains why typhoid fever is a human-specific disease

The bacterium Salmonella Typhi causes typhoid fever in humans, but leaves other mammals unaffected.  Researchers at University of California, San Diego and Yale University Schools of Medicine now offer one explanation — CMAH, an enzyme that humans lack. Without this enzyme, a toxin deployed by the bacteria is much better able to bind and enter human cells, making us sick. The study is published in the Dec. 4 issue of Cell.

In most mammals (including our closest evolutionary cousins, the great apes), the CMAH enzyme reconfigures the sugar molecules found on these animals’ cell surfaces into a form that the typhoid toxin cannot bind. Humans don’t produce CMAH, meaning our cell surface sugars are left unchanged — and as this study shows, in a state just right for typhoid toxin attachment.

“We started this project looking at something completely different in relation to cancer, but serendipity instead helped us solve the mystery of what the typhoid toxin binds,” said co-senior author Ajit Varki, MD, Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Medicine at UC San Diego. “That’s the beauty of basic research — though we didn’t set out with the intent, these findings may now spur the development of new therapies for typhoid fever.” Varki co-directed the study with Jorge E. Galán, PhD, DVM, professor and department chair at Yale University School of Medicine. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

In Memoriam: Martin F. Kagnoff, MD

Announcement from Wolfgang H. Dillmann, MD, Helen M. Ranney Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine

Dr. Martin Kagnoff

Martin F. Kagnoff, MD

It is with sadness that I announce that we have lost one of our department’s most vigorous and inspiring leaders. Martin Kagnoff, MD, passed away at his home in La Jolla on Sunday, November 16.

Wolfgang H. Dillmann, MD

Wolfgang H. Dillmann, MD

Dr. Kagnoff was Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics, Emeritus, and Director of the Laboratory of Mucosal Immunology at UC San Diego. He was a pioneer in academic gastroenterology and research.

He joined the faculty of the Division of Gastroenterology when he completed his residency and fellowship training in 1972. He devoted all 42 years of his long and fruitful career to UC San Diego.

Dr. Kagnoff directed the multidisciplinary Laboratory of Mucosal Immunology, which was established in 1985. His research initially focused on basic immunology in the gastrointestinal tract. He went on to the pathophysiology of celiac disease, the intestinal manifestations of AIDS, the biology of intestinal epithelial cells and the pathogenesis of enteric infections.

He was recognized worldwide as a leader in mucosal immunology and the mechanisms leading to celiac disease. He was dedicated to education at all levels and he trained nearly 100 students, post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty members.

Dr. Kagnoff’s research was continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health for 40 years. He published more than 200 papers in leading gastroenterology, immunology and basic science journals and edited multiple books and reviews.

He served as associate editor and editor-in-chief of two leading journals in the field: The Journal of Clinical Investigation and the American Journal of Physiology: Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology.

Dr. Kagnoff earned his MD degree at Harvard Medical School. He received his postgraduate training in gastroenterology and immunology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston University School of Medicine and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

His family conducted a memorial service on November 18.

Gifts in memory of Dr. Martin Kagnoff may be made payable to The Regents of the University of California referencing the Kagnoff Endowed Fund #16203 and mailed to UC San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive #0940, La Jolla, CA 92093-0940.

Dr. Trey Ideker Named AAAS Fellow

Trey Ideker, PhD

Trey Ideker, PhD

Trey Ideker, PhD, professor of medicine in the Division of Medical Genetics and professor of bioengineering, is one of three UC San Diego faculty members to be named Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) this year. …Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom.

 

First Angioedema Treatment Center Opens at UC San Diego Health System

UC San Diego Health System in partnership with the U.S. Hereditary Angioedema Association (HAEA), a non-profit patient advocacy organization, has opened the nation’s first dedicated center for diagnosing and treating diverse forms of swelling, known collectively as angioedema.

The U.S. HAEA Angioedema Center at UC San Diego Health System will serve as an international referral center for people with all types of angioedema and will work closely with basic science laboratories at UC San Diego School of Medicine to better understand the condition and develop new treatments. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Bruce Zuraw

Dr. Bruce Zuraw

Bruce Zuraw, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, is the U.S. HAEA Angioedema Center’s director and the inaugural recipient of the U.S. HAEA Endowed Chair at UC San Diego.  |  Dr. Zuraw’s clinical profile

Dr. Marc Riedl

Dr. Marc Riedl

Marc Riedl, MD, MS, associate professor of medicine, is the Center’s clinical director.  |  Dr, Riedl’s clinical profile

 

Grant Gives New Breath to Patients Suffering from Severe Pulmonary Hypertension

Nearly $8 million grant helps launch a nationwide patient registry to improve CTEPH practices

Imagine trying to take a deep breath, but feeling like you’re sucking air through a straw. That’s how some patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) describe living with the condition, which is estimated to affect several thousand Americans yearly but is commonly misdiagnosed. UC San Diego Health System is a world leader in CTEPH, and now with a $7.6 million grant, has helped launch the first national CTEPH registry to improve best practices and patient care. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Kim KerrPrincipal Investigator of the project is Kim Kerr, MD, professor of clinical medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. She directs the Medical Intensive Care Unit at UC San Diego Health System’s Thornton Hospital in La Jolla.

Dr. Michael MadaniCardiac surgeon Michael Madani, MD, co-investigator, is chief of cardiothoracic surgery and director of UC San Diego Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center – Surgery.

Anti-Leukemia Drug May Also Work Against Ovarian Cancer

An antibody therapy already in clinical trials to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) may also prove effective against ovarian cancer – and likely other cancers as well, report researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine in a study published in the Nov. 17 online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The findings extend the anti-cancer potential of an experimental monoclonal antibody called cirmtuzumab, developed at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center by Thomas Kipps, MD, PhD, and colleagues. Cirmtuzumab is currently in a first-in-human phase 1 clinical trial to assess its safety and efficacy in treating CLL. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Thomas Kipps

Dr. Thomas Kipps

Thomas Kipps, MD, PhD, Evelyn and Edwin Tasch Chair in Cancer Research, is professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology-Oncology and deputy director of research at the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center.

Dr. Kipps directs the multi-institutional, National Institutes of Health (NIH)-sponsored CLL Research Consortium (CRC) and UC San Diego Blood Cancer Research Fund.

Dr. Joseph M. Vinetz Presents CPC on Chronic GI Bleeding in Ethiopian Man at November 12 Medicine Grand Rounds

Dr. Joseph VinetzChronic gastrointestinal bleeding in a 50-year-old man from Ethiopia is the topic of a clinicopathological conference to be presented by Dr. Joseph M. Vinetz at Medicine Grand Rounds on November 12.

Joseph M. Vinetz, MD, is professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine at the UCSD School of Medicine. He is associate editor of the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and deputy editor of PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Training the Next Generation of Cancer Scientists

National Cancer Institute training grant has supported UC San Diego scholars since 1984

The University of California, San Diego received a $2.5 million Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to support four predoctoral and six postdoctoral scholars in the campus’s cancer training program. First awarded in 1984, the grant is the single longest-running NCI training grant at UC San Diego. The 2014 grant renewal will provide funding through 2019, when it will have completed 34 years of training for cancer investigators…. Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

More about the UC San Diego NIH/NCI Cancer Training Grant

Dr. Thomas Savides Speaking on Recent Advances in Endoscopy at This Week’s Grand Rounds

Dr. Thomas Savides, the founder and director of the Endoscopic Ultrasound Program at UC San Diego Health System, will speak on recent advances in endoscopy at this week’s session of Medicine Grand Rounds.

Thomas J. Savides, MD, is professor of clinical medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology and executive vice chair of the Department of Medicine.

Earlier this year, he was named chief experience officer for UC San Diego Health System.

See his clinical profile