Dr. Bernd Schnabl and Coworkers Find Another Way Alcohol Damages the Liver

Natural gut antibiotics diminished by alcohol leave mice more prone to bacterial growth in the liver, exacerbating alcohol-induced liver disease —

Alcohol itself can directly damage liver cells. Now researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report evidence that alcohol is also harmful to the liver for a second reason — it allows gut bacteria to migrate to the liver, promoting alcohol-induced liver disease. The study, conducted in mice and in laboratory samples, is published February 10 in Cell Host & Microbe.

“Alcohol appears to impair the body’s ability to keep microbes in check,” said senior author Bernd Schnabl, MD, associate professor of gastroenterology at UC San Diego School of Medicine. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


BBernd Schnabl, MDernd Schnabl, MD, is Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology faculty members Samuel B. Ho, MD, Professor of Medicine; and David A. Brenner, MD, Vice Chancellor, Health Sciences, Dean of UC San Diego School of Medicine and Professor of Medicine are coauthors of the study report.

Read the Article Abstract

Dr. Schnabl’s Laboratory Website

Drs. Shu Chien, Shaochen Chen Report Creation of in Vitro Liver Tissue Model Using Novel Bioprinting Technology

A team led by engineers at the University of California, San Diego has 3D-printed a tissue that closely mimics the human liver’s sophisticated structure and function. The new model could be used for patient-specific drug screening and disease modeling. The work was published the week of Feb. 8 in the online early edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Shu Chien, MD, PhD

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

Shu Chien, MD, PhD, co-senior author of the study report in PNAS, is founding chair of the UC San Diego Department of Bioengineering and director of the Institute of Engineering in Medicine.

In the Department of Medicine, he is Distinguished Professor of Medicine in the Division of Physiology.

Dr. Chien is a world-renowned researcher and inventor who has conducted pioneering investigations in atherosclerosis and hypertension. His work has brought about significant advances in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease.

Read the abstract of the PNAS report

Read more about the biofabrication technology used to create the liver model

UC San Diego Launches New Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research Center

Roughly one-quarter of all Americans – an estimated 100 million adults and children – have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a chronic condition that can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver failure. Combining a diverse array of basic science, biomarkers, imaging and clinical efforts, University of California, San Diego School of Medicine has launched a new NAFLD Research Center to better understand the disease and develop treatments where none currently exist.

“We already have a lot of depth and breadth in the study and treatment of NAFLD and associated conditions at UC San Diego,” said Rohit Loomba, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology and director of the new center. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Rohit Loomba, MDNAFLD Research Center director Rohit Loomba, MD, MHSc, is Professor of Clinical Medicine and Associate Director of Clinical Research in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

He is a clinical and translational physician-scientist who focuses his work on chronic liver diseases with particular attention to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). He is an internationally recognized expert in translational research and innovative clinical trial design in NAFLD and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and hepatic fibrosis.

He directs the NAFLD Clinic at UC San Diego Medical Center.

Dr. Loomba became a member of the Division of Gastroenterology faculty in 2009, when he graduated from the UC San Diego Gastroenterology Fellowship Program. He received his clinical and research training in advanced hepatology at the National Institutes of Health.

He holds an adjunct faculty appointment in the UC San Diego Division of Epidemiology, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at UC San Diego.

Reminder: Take the 2016 UC San Diego Student Satisfaction Survey

The 2016 Student Satisfaction Survey opened on January 11 and continues until March 11. Upon completion of the survey, students will automatically receive a 20% off coupon to the UCSD Bookstore and be entered into a raffle for an iPad Mini 4 or one of ten $30 UCSD Bookstore gift cards!

To participate in the survey, please visit studentsat.ucsd.edu and contact studentsat@ucsd.edu with questions or concerns.

2016 Student Satisfaction Survey flyer.

E-Cigarette Vapor Boosts Superbugs and Dampens Immune System

In lab and mouse experiments, exposure promotes bacterial virulence and inflammation, while blocking the body’s ability to fight infection —

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System report data suggesting that e-cigarettes are toxic to human airway cells, suppress immune defenses and alter inflammation, while at the same time boosting bacterial virulence. The mouse study is published January 25 by the Journal of Molecular Medicine.

“This study shows that e-cigarette vapor is not benign — at high doses it can directly kill lung cells, which is frightening,” said senior author Laura E. Crotty Alexander, MD, … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Laura E. Crotty Alexander, MD

Laura E. Crotty Alexander, MD

Senior author Laura E. Crotty Alexander, MD, is Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine in the Department of Medicine and staff physician at the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System.

The article reporting the findings was published first online on January 25, 2016.  Article abstract  |  Full text of article (UC San Diego Only)

GenomeSpace “Recipes” Help Biologists Interpret Genomic Data

Data analysis platform will enlist the user community to streamline use of multiple bioinformatics tools —

Many biomedical researchers are striving to make sense of the flood of data that has followed recent advances in genomic sequencing technologies. In particular, researchers are often limited by the challenge of getting multiple bioinformatics tools to “talk” to one another. To help address this need, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, in collaboration with labs at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Stanford University, Weizmann Institute and Pennsylvania State University, developed GenomeSpace, a cloud-based, biologist-friendly platform that connects more than 20 bioinformatics software packages and resources for genomic data analysis.

The team is now developing and crowdsourcing “recipes” — step-by-step workflows — to better enable non-programming researchers to interpret their genomic data … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Jill Mesirov

Dr. Jill Mesirov

Jill Mesirov, PhD, is senior investigator on the GenomeSpace project. Dr. Mesirov joined UC San Diego in 2015 as Associate Vice Chancellor for Computational Health Sciences and Professor of Medicine in the Division of Medical Genetics.

Trey Ideker, PhD, Professor of Medicine, is a coauthor.

The article citation: Qu K, Garamszegi S, Wu F, et al. Nature Methods. 2016 Jan 18. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.3732.

UC San Diego Endocrinologists Team with Pharmacists to Offer Diabetes “Tune Up” Clinic

Dr. Steven Edelman

Dr. Steven Edelman

Department of Medicine endocrinologists Steven V. Edelman, MD, (left) and Robert R. Henry, MD (below right), collaborate with Candis Morello, Pharm D, and students in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences to offer a six-month Diabetes Intensive Medical Management (DIMM) “tune up” clinic for patients with complex cases of diabetes at the VA San Diego Healthcare System.

Dr. Robert Henry

Dr. Robert Henry

At each visit, a patient receives an hour of personalized attention to medication management, diet, exercise, controlling blood sugar levels and other necessities that may be involved in a complex case of diabetes.

The aim is to achieve glycemic control within the six-month period of the “tune up” clinic..

In a preliminary study, Drs. Morello, Evans, Henry and coworkers have assessed the outcomes of the clinic, and the findings indicate that this pharmacist-endocrinologist collaborative approach is effective.  |  Read the Study Abstract in the January 2016 issue of Annals of Pharmacotherapy  |  Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Steven V. Edelman, MD, Clinical Professor in the Department of Medicine, directs the Diabetes Care Clinic at VA San Diego Healthcare System (VASDHS) and is an investigator in the VA Center for Metabolic Research. He is founder and director of Taking Control of Your Diabetes, a non-profit diabetes education organization. He conducts research focusing on developing and evaluating new treatments for type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Robert R. Henry, MD, Professor in the Department of Medicine, is Chief of the VA Center for Metabolic Research and Chief of the Section of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes at VASDHS. In his research, he investigates the etiology, treatment, and prevention of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Morello is Professor of Clinical Pharmacy and Associate Dean for Student Affairs at Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

The study report was published online in November, 2015, and in print in January, 2016.

UC San Diego Designated an Alpha-1 Foundation Clinical Resource Center

Alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency is a little-known genetic cause of pulmonary disease. The Alpha-1 Foundation has named UC San Diego an Alpha-1 Foundation Clinical Resource Center, a designation that will channel more funding to UC San Diego pulmonary disease researchers for translational research and clinical trials to identify new treatments.

 

Take the 2016 UC San Diego Student Satisfaction Survey

The 2016 Student Satisfaction Survey opens on January 11 and continues until March 11. Upon completion of the survey, students will automatically receive a 20% off coupon to the UCSD Bookstore and be entered into a raffle for an iPad Mini 4 or one of ten $30 UCSD Bookstore gift cards!

To participate in the survey, please visit studentsat.ucsd.edu and contact studentsat@ucsd.edu with questions or concerns.

2016 Student Satisfaction Survey flyer.

Complex Health Issues of Aging Patients Not Solved in a Senior Moment

Program teaches medical professionals how to address obstacles to care, such as isolation and homelessness —

Reams of medical books and guidelines exist on how to manage a patient’s diabetes, but much of that goes out the window when your patient is a 70-year-old homeless man eating out of a trashcan.

“There’s no point in simply giving this patient insulin and telling him to get on a restricted diet,” said Dr. Diane Chau, associate professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine and a physician at Veteran Affairs San Diego Healthcare System. “We need to intervene in a broader, more comprehensive way.” … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom