New Findings on Fat Cell Metabolism Could Lead to New Approaches for Treating Diabetes and Obesity

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego report new insights into what nutrients fat cells metabolize to make fatty acids. The findings pave the way for understanding potential irregularities in fat cell metabolism that occur in patients with diabetes and obesity and could lead to new treatments for these conditions. The researchers published their findings online in the Nov. 16 issue of Nature Chemical Biology…. Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Professor Shu Chien Receives Prestigious Franklin Institute Award

Philadelphia, Nov. 12, 2015 – Shu Chien, founding chair of the Department of Bioengineering at the University of California, where is he currently a professor and director of the Institute of Engineering in Medicine, has received the prestigious Franklin Institute Award.

The award is conferred by the Philadelphia-based Franklin Institute. It has gone in previous years to an extraordinary list of great men and women who have significantly improved our world with their pioneering innovations, including Thomas Edison, Marie Curie, Stephen Hawking, Jacques Cousteau, and more recently Jane Goodall, Dean Kamen and Bill Gates. … Read the full press release from the Jacobs School of Engineering

Shu Chien, MD, PhD

Shu Chien, MD, PhD. Photo courtesy of Jacobs School of Engineering/UC San Diego.

In addition to his leadership roles in the Department of Bioengineering and the Institute of Engineering in MedicineShu Chien, MD, PhD, is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Physiology.

In a recent major development in his scientific explorations, Dr. Chien is one of four principal investigators in the organizational hub of the $30 million 4D Nucleome Research Centers and Organizational Hub grant the National Institutes of Health awarded to UC San Diego in October.

The goal of the project is to determine how DNA is arranged within the cell’s nucleus in four dimensions (three-dimensional space plus time) and how changes in that nuclear organization affect human health and disease.

More information about Dr. Chien and his work:

UC San Diego Health Researchers Join Pancreatic Cancer “Dream Team”

International effort will seek to develop and test new therapies for deadly malignancy —

In an effort to advance research on one of the deadliest forms of cancer, University of California, San Diego School of Medicine researchers Andrew Lowy, MD, and Tannishtha Reya, PhD, have been recruited for their expertise in preclinical modeling, clinical trials and stem cell biology to join a “dream team” of international pancreatic cancer researchers.

The three-year, $12-million effort, sponsored by Stand Up To Cancer, Cancer Research UK and The Lustgarten Foundation, will pursue a three-pronged strategy to better understand and reset so-called “super-enhancers” that may be abnormally active in pancreatic tumors. Super-enhancers are bits of DNA that can cause over-expression of genetic signals, fueling cancer cell growth. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Tannishtha Reya, PhD, is Professor of Pharmacology in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Professor of Medicine in the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.

Cancer-associated Mutations are Common in Patients with Unexplained Low Blood Counts

Researchers use genetic tools to propose a new diagnostic category —

Patients with unexplained low blood counts and abnormally mutated cells who do not fit the diagnostic criteria for recognized blood cancers should be described as having clonal cytopenias of undetermined significance (CCUS), suggest University of California, San Diego School of Medicine researchers in a recent paper published in the journal Blood. The researchers found the condition surprisingly common in older patients with low blood counts. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Dr. Rafael Bejar

Dr. Rafael Bejar

The senior author of the study is Rafael Bejar, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Bone Marrow Transplantation.

Read Article Abstract

Dr. Bejar was one of 41 UC San Diego Health physicians named on the list of San Diego’s Top Doctors for 2015. The annual list is compiled by the San Diego County Medical Society and San Diego Magazine.

$5 Million ResMed Gift Supports Sleep Medicine at UC San Diego

The University of California, San Diego today announced a $5 million gift from locally based medical device company, ResMed Inc., to support sleep medicine research and care at the UC San Diego School of Medicine. The donation was made to the university in honor of ResMed’s founder and chairman of the board, Peter C. Farrell, PhD, DSc. ResMed is the global leader in pioneering new and innovative solutions for the diagnosis, treatment and management of sleep-disordered breathing, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other key chronic diseases.

The funding, totaling $5 million, will establish the Peter C. Farrell Sleep Center of Excellence, in addition to the Peter C. Farrell Presidential Chair in Pulmonary Medicine. ResMed’s donation to establish the endowed chair was matched with an additional $500,000 from the University of California as part of the UC system’s Presidential Match for Endowed Chairs. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Atul Malhotra, MDAtul Malhotra, MD, pictured at left, is professor and chair of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Director of Sleep Medicine at UC San Diego.

Spotting the Earliest Signs of Type 1 Diabetic Kidney Disease

JDRF network grant to fund study to find new types of diagnostic markers —

In an effort to pinpoint the earliest signs of diabetic kidney disease, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine are leading a multi-institutional international effort dedicated to finding a new breed of disease indicators.

The study, funded by a $2.5 million JDRF (formerly known as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) grant, will tap the potential of three emerging “omics” sciences to discover new ways to determine which patients are most likely to develop diabetic kidney disease. Samples from more than 2,000 type 1 diabetes patients, collected over a period of years by several medical centers around the world, will be used in the analyses. …Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Kumar Sharma, MD, FAHAPrincipal investigator of the study is Kumar Sharma, MD, FAHA, Professor of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology. He directs the Center for Renal Translational Medicine and the Institute of Metabolomic Medicine in UC San Diego School of Medicine.

Two Lefts Make It Right: Cardiac Experts Find Novel Approach to Treat Heart Failure

Circulatory assist devices placed on both sides of heart restore normal blood flow —

A teenage girl faced with sudden rapid heart deterioration, a man in the prime years of his life suffering from debilitating heart failure and a former NFL athlete crippled by end-stage heart failure were all successfully treated with a surgical approach pioneered by cardiac experts at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.

The work, recently published in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, demonstrated significant benefits of implanting a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) in the right atrium to provide better blood flow through the lungs, giving complete biventricular circulatory support and fully replacing the heart’s function. …Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Dr. Christopher K. Glass Among Three UC San Diego Researchers Elected to National Academy of Medicine

Ferrara, Glass and Malinow join premier advisory group on national medical and health issues —

The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) announced today the election of three new members from University of California, San Diego School of Medicine: Napoleone Ferrara, MD; Christopher K. Glass, MD, PhD; and Roberto Malinow, MD, PhD. Election to NAM is considered among the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine. …Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Christopher K. Glass, MD, PhDChristopher K. Glass, MD, PhD, is Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Glass Lab Website

Breast Cancer Drug Beats Superbug

Tamoxifen helps white blood cells clear multidrug-resistant bacteria in lab and mouse studies —

Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences have found that the breast cancer drug tamoxifen gives white blood cells a boost, better enabling them to respond to, ensnare and kill bacteria in laboratory experiments. Tamoxifen treatment in mice also enhances clearance of the antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogen MRSA and reduces mortality. …Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Dr. John ChangFaculty coauthors of the study report include John T. Chang, MD, associate professor in the Division of Gastroenterology. His laboratory website is here.

Read the article abstract in Nature Communications. (Article full text, UC San Diego only)

New Video Series Chronicles AIDS Epidemic in Tijuana

“HIV/SIDA: The Epidemic in Tijuana” focuses on UC San Diego researchers’ efforts to track and prevent the spread of HIV among the city’s most at-risk populations —

The new documentary “HIV/SIDA: The Epidemic in Tijuana” offers an unflinching look at the challenges facing researchers from the University of California, San Diego as they attempt to identify and treat people who inject drugs, sex workers, transgender women and others who are at high risk for HIV infection in Tijuana. The program, which was shot over two years, premieres Oct. 5 at 8 p.m. on UCSD-TV and can be viewed at … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

The film features the efforts of Dr. Steffanie Strathdee, her Division of Global Public Health colleagues and a multidisciplinary, multinational team of medical professionals to trace and arrest the spread of AIDS in Tijuana.

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

The four-part documentary, based on the book Tomorrow Is a Long Time by Malcolm Linton and Jon Cohen, premiered on UCSD-TV on October 5. It was supported by funding from the Ford Foundation.

Find more about the documentary here: HIV/SIDA: The Epidemic in Tijuana – UCSD-TV – University of California Television.