Robert T. “Chip” Schooley, MD, Stepping Down as Division Chief of Infectious Diseases

August 14, 2017

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

Robert T.

Robert T. “Chip” Schooley, MD

It is with mixed emotions that the Department of Medicine announces that Dr. Robert “Chip” Schooley has stepped down as Division Chief of Infectious Diseases effective August 1, 2017. Dr. Schooley has accepted the position of UCSD Senior Director of International Initiatives, and he will remain as Vice Chair of Academic Affairs in the Department of Medicine, and will continue to be a valuable member of the Infectious Diseases Team.

Dr. Schooley joined the Department in 2005 as the third chief of Infectious Diseases since its inception. Over the past 12 years, under his leadership, the division has nearly doubled in size from having 25 faculty members to 44, with many of them joining the division from the fellowship. During that time, Dr. Schooley has mentored countless medical students, residents, and fellows, and has also helped to develop a collaborative culture within the division, creating a worldwide network of researchers and clinicians. He has personally mentored dozens of fellows and junior faculty, helping them to establish independent careers within academia both at UCSD and at other institutions.

Throughout his tenure, the Infectious Diseases Division has remained the #1 research funded division in the Department of Medicine. Dr. Schooley brought the editorship of the Clinical Infectious Disease Journal to UCSD which served to increase the international reputation of the division and also provided faculty members direct access to outstanding research and collaboration opportunities. Along with the Fellowship Director, Dr. Constance Benson, Dr. Schooley established the Mozambique research and training program at UCSD in 2009, which has served to train hundreds of UCSD residents and fellows, and physicians from Mozambique. This collaboration has helped to further reinforce Dr. Schooley as a world-leader in both the research and management of infectious disease.

Dr. Schooley also helped establish the UCSD HCV clinic, and has never shied away from innovative and entrepreneurial methods to patient care. This was most recently exemplified by his coordination of the treatment of Acinetobacter baumannii utilizing bacteriophages in a successful experimental treatment. This outcome could not have been possible were it not for the faculty mentorship, the professional relationships, and the constant innovation exemplified by the entire division of Infectious Diseases under the stewardship of Dr. Schooley.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Robert Schooley on over a decade of outstanding service to our Department as a brilliant leader, clinician, investigator, mentor, and colleague.

Stool Microbes Predict Advanced Liver Disease

Proof-of-concept study suggests a noninvasive test for specific microbial population patterns could be used to detect advanced nonalcoholic fatty liver disease —

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) — a condition that can lead to liver cirrhosis and cancer — isn’t typically detected until it’s well advanced. Even then, diagnosis requires an invasive liver biopsy. To detect NAFLD earlier and more easily, researchers in the NAFLD Research Center at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, Human Longevity, Inc. and the J. Craig Venter Institute report that the unique microbial makeup of a patient’s stool sample — or gut microbiome — can be used to predict advanced NAFLD with 88 to 94 percent accuracy.

The proof-of-concept study, which involved 135 participants, is published May 2 in Cell Metabolism.Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Health Newsroom


The first author of the study is Rohit Loomba, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology, director of the NAFLD Research Center and a faculty member in the Center for Microbiome Innovation at UC San Diego.

Novel Phage Therapy Saves Patient with Multidrug-Resistant Bacterial Infection

Intravenous viruses are used to target deadly bacterium; dramatic case suggests potential alternative to failing antibiotics —

Scientists and physicians at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, working with colleagues at the U.S. Navy Medical Research Center – Biological Defense Research Directorate (NMRC-BDRD), Texas A&M University, a San Diego-based biotech and elsewhere, have successfully used an experimental therapy involving bacteriophages — viruses that target and consume specific strains of bacteria — to treat a patient near death from a multidrug-resistant bacterium. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Health Newsroom

Collaborative Diabetes Clinic Lowers Health Care Costs

Already shown to improve patient outcomes, innovative diabetes clinic is also cost effective for the clinic, health system and payer —

Diabetes cost the U.S. an estimated $245 billion in 2012, in direct medical costs and reduced productivity. Health care providers are facing increasing pressure to achieve better patient outcomes at a lower cost. To help address these issues, researchers at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of California San Diego are running a Diabetes Intensive Medical Management (DIMM) “tune up” clinic for complex type 2 diabetes patients at the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System. In a study published in the March 2017 issue of the Journal of Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy, the researchers report the clinic’s economic benefits, which include an estimated cost avoidance of $5,287 per DIMM clinic patient over three years. …Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Luis R. Castellanos, MD, MPH, Appointed Director of Diversity in Medicine and Faculty Outreach for the Department of Medicine

February 27, 2017

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

Luis Castellanos, MD, MPH

Luis Castellanos, MD, MPH

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Luis R. Castellanos, MD, MPH as Director of Diversity in Medicine and Faculty Outreach for the UCSD Department of Medicine.  Dr. Castellanos is an Associate Clinical Professor in the Division of Cardiology.

In his new role, he will work to promote the recruitment, retention and advancement of diverse medical professionals, including internal medicine residents and faculty, from underrepresented in medicine minority (URM) groups within the Department of Medicine.  Dr. Castellanos has demonstrated a sustained commitment to the critical mission of improving diversity and promoting inclusion in the medical field in order to better serve the members of our diverse community.

Dr. Castellanos graduated from UC Davis summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, with a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry and earned his medical degree from Harvard Medical School.  He first joined UCSD as an Internal Medicine resident in 2003. He was then completed a prestigious Fellowship in Minority Health Policy at Harvard University/Commonwealth Fund Program, obtaining a Masters in Public Health with an emphasis in Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Dr. Castellanos subsequently completed a fellowship in cardiovascular medicine at UC Davis where he was selected as the Chief Research Fellow for his involvement in clinical research that addressed vulnerable populations.  He joined the faculty at UCSD in 2010.

As part of his clinical service, Dr. Castellanos travels to the Imperial Valley to provide cardiac care to underserved populations from El Centro, Brawley and neighboring communities.

Dr. Castellanos’ research focuses on health outcomes and inequities involving racial and ethnic minority groups.  He has co-authored peer-reviewed articles in the American Journal of Cardiology and the Journal of Cardiac Failure.  Dr. Castellanos was awarded a research grant from the Clinical and Translation Research Institute to study the effectiveness of a home-based cardiac rehabilitation program in patients with coronary heart disease who live in rural communities.  He has been invited to present his research at national conferences such as the American Heart Association and the National Hispanic Medical Association annual meetings where he has been a strong advocate for improving cardiovascular heath of vulnerable populations.

Dr. Castellanos has been recognized by the UCSD Clinical Advancement and Recognition of Excellence in Service and received the National Center for Leadership in Academic Medicine Award in 2013. Most recently, Dr. Castellanos was selected as a UCSD LEAD (Leaders for Equity, Advancement and Diversity) Fellow.

Howard J. Jacob to Deliver Daniel T. O’Connor Memorial Lecture February 23

Dr. Howard J. Jacob will present the Daniel T. O’Connor 2nd Annual Memorial Lecture on Thursday, February 23, 2017, at UC San Diego School of Medicine. His topic is “From Hypertension to Genomic Medicine.”

Dr. Jacob’s lecture will take place in the Leichtag Auditorium (Room 107), with a reception immediately following on the patio.

Dr. Jacob is Executive Vice President for Medical Genomics, Chief Medical Genomics Officer, and Faculty Investigator at HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. His UC San Diego hosts are Bruce A. Hamilton, PhD, and Nicholas J. Schork, PhD.

Dr. Hamilton is Professor, Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Department of Medicine; Director, Genetics Training Program; and Associate Director, Institute for Genomic Medicine. Dr. Schork is UC San Diego Adjunct Professor, Psychiatry, Family and Preventive Medicine and Director of Human Biology, J. Craig Venter Institute.

The lecture is presented in conjunction with the UC San Diego CTRI Seminar Series and the Genetics, Bioinformatics and Systems Biology Colloquium Series.

Inaugural Chiba-UCSD Mucosal Immunology and Immunization Symposium to Be Held Here February 21-22

Chiba University and UC San Diego, collaborators in the new Program in Mucosal Immunology, Allergy and Vaccine Development based at UC San Diego, are hosting the inaugural Symposium in Mucosal Immunology and Immunization on February 21-22, 2017, at UC San Diego.

The abstract submission deadline is February 17.

Register for the Symposium Here

Dr. Peter Ernst

Dr. Peter Ernst

Co-Directors of the program are Peter Ernst, DVM, PhD, Professor of Pathology and Medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine, and Hiroshi Kiyono, DDS, PhD, Professor, University of Tokyo and Chiba University.

Dr. Ernst is Director of the Center for Veterinary Sciences and Comparative Medicine.

The Chiba University – UC San Diego collaboration is co-sponsored by the International Immunological Memory and Vaccine Forum (IIMVF) and complements the recently-created UC San Diego-La Jolla Institute Immunology Program.

The international initiative was first announced by UC San Diego in May 2016.

New Professor Makes Forbes Short List of Top Scientists Under 30

In her first year as an assistant professor at the University of California San Diego, Melissa Gymrek is already bringing honor to the institution. In its 2017 roster of top-notch young scientists, Forbes magazine included Gymrek among its top 30 researchers in the Science category under age 30. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

CIRM Approves New Funding to UC San Diego Researchers Fighting Zika Virus and Cancer

Grants focus on re-purposing drugs to treat Zika infections and using anti-cancer natural killer cells —

The Independent Citizens Oversight Committee of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) has approved a pair of $2 million awards to University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers to advance studies of new treatments for Zika virus infections and the use of stem cell-derived natural killer (NK) cells to target ovarian cancer and other malignancies. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Dan Kaufman and his laboratory received one of the two $2.1 million CIRM grants. The normal immune system contains natural killer (NK) cells; Dr. Kaufman and coworkers are using induced human pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to produce NK cells that can target specific tumors, such as ovarian cancer, with high specificity.

Dan Kaufman, MD, PhD, is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Regenerative Medicine and Director of Cell Therapy at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

Researchers Identify New Drug Target for Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors

In recent years, researchers have identified specific gene mutations linked to gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), which primarily occur in the stomach or small intestine, with 5,000 to 6,000 new cases per year in the United States.

But 10 to 15 percent of adult GIST cases and most pediatric cases lack the documented tell-tale mutations, making identification and treatment more difficult. In their paper published online Dec. 14 in the Journal of Translational Medicine, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center have identified new gene fusions and mutations associated with this subset of GIST patients. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Razelle Kurzrock

Dr. Razelle Kurzrock

The study authors included a number of faculty researchers in the Division of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Medicine, at Moores Cancer Center, including Razelle Kurzrock, MD, Chief, Division of Hematology-Oncology; Murray Professor of Medicine; Senior Deputy Director, Clinical Science; and Director, Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy & Clinical Trials Office.

The other Hematology-Oncology investigators from UC San Diego included Drs. T. Fanta, Martina de Siena, Gregory Heestand, and Olivier Herismendy.