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.

Unexpected Activity of Two Enzymes Helps Explain Why Liver Cancer Drugs Fail

Overturning previous assumptions, study also provides new, more realistic model for liver cancer research and drug development —

Some cancers are caused by loss of enzymes that should keep cell growth in check. On the flip side, some are caused by over-activation of enzymes that enhance cell growth. Yet drugs that inhibit the overactive enzymes have failed to work against liver cancer. In mouse models, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have discovered a potential reason — counterintuitively, lack of both types of these enzymes can lead to liver disease and cancer. In human liver tumor samples, they also found that deficiencies in these two enzymes, called Shp2 and Pten, are associated with poor prognosis.

The study, published December 13 by Cell Reports, provides a new understanding of how liver cancer develops, a new therapeutic approach and new mouse model for studying the disease. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Rohit Loomba, MD

Rohit Loomba, MD

The study team includes Rohit Loomba, MD, MHSc, Director of the NAFLD Research Center and Director of Hepatology in the Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine at UC San Diego. Dr. Loomba is Professor of Medicine (with tenure) and Vice Chief, Division of Gastroenterology.

Dr. Loomba is also Adjunct Professor, Division of Epidemiology, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health.

Study Reveals New Role for Hippo Pathway in Suppressing Cancer Immunity

Previous studies identified the Hippo pathway kinases LATS1/2 as a tumor suppressor, but new research led by University of California San Diego School of Medicine scientists reveals a surprising role for these enzymes in subduing cancer immunity. The findings, published in Cell on December 1, could have a clinical role in improving efficiency of immunotherapy drugs. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dennis Carson, MDThe study coauthors include Dennis A. Carson, MD, member of the UC San Diego Resident Faculty in the UC San Diego Stem Cell Program.

Dr. Carson is Emeritus Professor of Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy, and Immunology and former Director of the Moores Cancer Center.

Protein That Protects During Stress Sheds Light on How Diabetes Drug Prevents Tumors

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have identified a previously unknown mechanism that helps fortify the structure and tight junctions between epithelial cells — a basic cell type that lines various body cavities and organs throughout the body, forming a protective barrier against toxins, pathogens and inflammatory triggers. Breaches of this barrier can provoke organ dysfunction and development of tumors.

The findings, published online in the current issue of eLife by senior author Pradipta Ghosh, MD … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Pradipta Ghosh

Pradipta Ghosh, MD

Pradipta Ghosh, MD, MBBS, is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology.

She is a graduate of the UC San Diego Internal Medicine Residency Training Program, the Gastroenterology Fellowship Training Program and the Department of Medicine Physician-Scientist Training Program.

New Bioinformatic Analysis Reveals Role of Proteins in Diabetic Kidney Disease

MDM2 emerges as key; Software could expose metabolomic information of other diseases —

A new bioinformatic framework developed by researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine has identified key proteins significantly altered at the gene-expression level in biopsied tissue from patients with diabetic kidney disease, a result that may reveal new therapeutic targets. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Kumar Sharma, MD, FAHADr. Kumar Sharma is lead investigator of the team that published the study report in JCI Insights.Kumar Sharma, MD, is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension.

He directs the Institute for Metabolomic Medicine and the Center for Renal Translational Medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

Study Report (full text UC San Diego only)

Study Finds Psoriasis Drug Significantly Effective in Treating Crohn’s Disease

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have shown that ustekinumab, a human antibody used to treat arthritis, significantly induces response and remission in patients with moderate to severe Crohn’s disease. Results of the clinical trial will appear in the November 16 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

“A high percentage of the patients in the study who had not responded to conventional therapies were in clinical remission after only a single dose of intravenous ustekinumab,” said William J. Sandborn, MD, professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine and director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at UC San Diego Health. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. William Sandborn

William J. Sandborn, MD

William A. Sandborn, MD, is chief of the Division of Gastroenterology in the Department of Medicine.