SDSC/UCSD Study Uncovers Mechanisms of Cancer-Causing Mutations

Computer modeling leads to more precise targeting of therapies –

Researchers at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) and the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego, have described for the first time the molecular mechanism of cancer development caused by well-known “resistance” mutations in the gene called epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). While these mutations were known for quite a long time, the question as to why they cause cancer or make some drugs ineffective was still not answered. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Researchers Discover Protein’s Pivotal Role in Heart Failure

Better understanding of molecular mechanism could lead to new drug targets –

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have identified a key piece in the complex molecular puzzle underlying heart failure – a serious and sometimes life-threatening disorder affecting more than 5 million Americans.

In a study published in the March 5 online issue of Cell Reports, Xiang-Dong Fu, PhD, and colleagues explored the heart’s progression from initial weakening to heart failure, and found that a protein, known as RBFox2, plays a critical role in this process.


Ju Chen, PhD

Ju Chen, PhD

A number of Division of Cardiovascular Medicine researchers and affiliates are coauthors, including Kunfu Ouyang, Indroneal Banerjee, PhD; Caimei Zhang, Biyi Chen, Ju Chen, PhD; and Long-Sheng Song.

Dr. Chen is Professor of Medicine, American Heart Association Endowed Chair in Cardiovascular Research and Director of Basic Cardiac Research at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.

Senior author Xiang-Dong Fu, PhD, is professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and investigator in the Institute of Genomic Medicine at UC San Diego.

See Full Text of Article (open access)

Take the 2015 UC San Diego Student Satisfaction Survey

If you are a graduate or undergraduate student at UC San Diego, you are invited to take the 2015 UC San Diego Student Satisfaction Survey. You can take the survey at http://studentsat.ucsd.edu from January 12 through March 12, 2015.

When you complete the survey, you are automatically entered to win an iPad Air 2 or one of eight $100 UC San Diego Bookstore gift cards.

A new prize this year is a GoPro Hero and accessories. For a chance to win it, post a selfie showing your Triton Pride on http://tinyurl.com/studentsatselfie after you have completed the survey. The selfie with the most likes by March 12 will win the GoPro Hero.

2015 Student Satisfaction Survey Poster in Green

iPad Air 2® is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. GoPro Hero is a trademark of GoPro, Inc.

Researchers Find Link Between Inflammation, Tissue Regeneration and Wound Repair Response

Discovery has implications for potential new treatments of some cancers and inflammatory bowel disease –

Almost all injuries, even minor skin scratches, trigger an inflammatory response, which provides protection against invading microbes but also turns on regenerative signals needed for healing and injury repair – a process that is generally understood but remains mysterious in its particulars.

Writing in the February 25 online issue of Nature, an international team of scientists, headed by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, report finding new links between inflammation and regeneration: signaling pathways that are activated by a receptor protein called gp130.. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. William SandbornStudy coinvestigators included Division of Gastroenterology division chief William Sandborn, MD, and Inflammatory Disease Center researchers Brigid S. Boland and John T. Chang.

Other Department of Medicine coauthors included Petrus R. de Jong; and Samuel B. Ho, professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology and Section Chief, Gastroenterology, at the VA San Diego Healthcare System.

Full text of the article (UC San Diego only)

Take the 2015 UC San Diego Student Satisfaction Survey

If you are a graduate or undergraduate student at UC San Diego, you are invited to take the 2015 UC San Diego Student Satisfaction Survey. You can take the survey at http://studentsat.ucsd.edu from January 12 through March 12, 2015.

When you complete the survey, you are automatically entered to win an iPad Air 2 or one of eight $100 UC San Diego Bookstore gift cards.

A new prize this year is a GoPro Hero and accessories. For a chance to win it, post a selfie showing your Triton Pride on http://tinyurl.com/studentsatselfie after you have completed the survey. The selfie with the most likes by March 12 will win the GoPro Hero.

2015 Student Satisfaction Survey Poster in Gold

iPad Air 2® is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. GoPro Hero is a trademark of GoPro, Inc.

Molecular Link between Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes Reveals Potential Therapy

Inflammatory molecule LTB4 promotes insulin resistance in obese mice and blocking the LTB4 receptor prevents and reverses type 2 diabetes in this model –

Obesity causes inflammation, which can in turn lead to type 2 diabetes. What isn’t well established is how inflammation causes diabetes — or what we can do to stop it. Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered that the inflammatory molecule LTB4 promotes insulin resistance, a first step in developing type 2 diabetes. What’s more, the team found that genetically removing the cell receptor that responds to LTB4, or blocking it with a drug, improves insulin sensitivity in obese mice. The study is published Feb. 23 by Nature Medicine. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Jerrold OlefskyStudy senior author Jerrold M. Olefsky, MD, is professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism and associate dean for scientific affairs for the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine.

Read article (UC San Diego only)

Doctorate Program Will Study Substance Abuse and Its Consequences

Collaboration between UC San Diego and SDSU among first in nation –

A new Joint Doctoral Program (JDP) in Interdisciplinary Research on Substance Use has been launched by the Division of Global Public Health in the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and San Diego State University’s School of Social Work. The program will emphasize research devoted to studying the use and misuse of alcohol and drugs – and related social and health consequences. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Steffanie Strathdee

Dr. Strathdee.

Co-directors of the program are Steffanie Strathdee, PhD, and Maria Luisa Zúñiga, PhD.

Dr. Strathdee is Associate Dean of Global Health Sciences, head of the UC San Diego Global Health Initiative and Harold Simon Professor and Chief of the Division of Global Public Health at UC San Diego.

Dr. Zúñiga is associate professor and behavioral epidemiologist in the Division of Global Public Health and associate professor in the San Diego State University School of Social Work.

Read the joint doctoral program catalog description

Medtech Meets Cleantech: Malaria Vaccine Candidate Produced from Algae

Cheap, green technique advances efforts toward malaria transmission vaccine in humans —

Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine used algae as a mini-factory to produce a malaria parasite protein. The algae-produced protein, paired with an immune-boosting cocktail suitable for use in humans, generated antibodies in mice that nearly eliminated mosquito infection by the malaria parasite. The method, published Feb. 17 by Infection and Immunity, is the newest attempt to develop a vaccine that prevents transmission of the malaria parasite from host to mosquito. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Joseph VinetzStudy senior author Joseph Vinetz, MD, is professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases.

Read article abstract

Dr. Sheila Crowe Selected as Vice President of the American Gastroenterological Association

An Announcement from Dr. William J. Sandborn
Professor and Chief, Division of Gastroenterology –

Dr. William Sandborn

Dr. William Sandborn

It is with great pleasure that I share with you that Dr. Sheila Crowe has been selected as Vice President of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA).

In this role, she will begin a four-year term of service to the AGA, transitioning yearly from Vice President to President Elect to President and finally to Past President and Chair of the AGA Foundation.

Dr. Sheila E. Crowe

Dr. Sheila E. Crowe, Professor of Medicine and Director of Research in the Division of Gastroenterology.

This is perhaps the highest honor that a physician in our specialty can receive. It is a tremendous honor for Dr. Crowe, and for our entire Division.

I am so proud to have Dr. Crowe in our Division. Please join me in congratulating her on this accomplishment.

Best regards,

William J. Sandborn, MD
Professor of Medicine and Adjunct Professor of Surgery
Chief, Division of Gastroenterology
Director, Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center
University of California, San Diego
and UC San Diego Health System

In Memoriam: Nathan J. Zvaifler, MD

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

Dr. Nathan J. Zvaifler

Dr. Nathan J. Zvaifler

Emeritus professor Nathan J. Zvaifler, MD, former chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology and a founder and influential leader in the Department of Medicine, passed away on January 28 at the age of 87.

Dr. Zvaifler was internationally known for his research and academic leadership. Here at UC San Diego, he was also beloved for his generosity in teaching and mentorship. Although he retired to emeritus status officially in 2008, he remained active in his instructional activities for years later.

Dr. Zvaifler left his stamp not only on the successful growth of the academic division he led for two decades but also on the character of the Department of Medicine and the School of Medicine.

In 1970, he was recruited from Georgetown University, where he had led the Arthritis Unit since 1961, to head the rheumatology division in the new medical school at UC San Diego.

From 1972 to 1974, he served as acting chair of the Department of Medicine after founding chair Eugene Braunwald left to take a position at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital of the Harvard Medical School.

This was a period that subsequent Department of Medicine Chair Dr. Helen M. Ranney later described as “a crucial two years in the development of the new School of Medicine at UCSD.”

Dr. Zvaifler spent his entire career at UC San Diego.

A lectureship, the Rheumatology Lectureship Fund, was established in Dr. Zvaifler’s name by the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology in 2008. Its purpose is to bring internationally recognized investigators to UC San Diego for seminars and teaching activities. More detail can be found at http://raidivision.ucsd.edu/About/giving/Pages/give-zvaifler.aspx.

Contributions in Dr. Zvaifler’s memory can be made to the Rheumatology Research Foundation of the American College of Rheumatology.

The American College of Rheumatology conducted a 75th Anniversary Interview with Dr. Zvaifler in 2009.