Forty-One Department of Medicine Physicians Named on San Diego’s 2015 “Top Doctors” List

This year’s San Diego Magazine/San Diego County Medical Society Top Doctors list includes 41 Department of Medicine faculty clinicians. View photo gallery

Drs. Richard Garfein, Antonino Catanzaro and Coworkers Report More Rapid Tests for Drug-Resistant TB

Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have documented the accuracy of three new tests for more rapidly diagnosing drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis (TB), which are much harder and more expensive to treat and which, experts say, represent a major threat to global public health. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Department of Medicine co-authors of the report are emeritus professor Antonino Catanzaro, MD, of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine; and professor Richard Garfein, PhD, MPH, and associate professor Timothy C. Rodwell, MD, PhD, MPH, of the Division of Global Public Health.

Dr. Richard GarfeinPictured are Drs. Catanzaro (top left) and Garfein (left).

Read the study report here.

Dr. Atul Malhotra Is American Thoracic Society President for 2015-2016

Dr. Atul MalhotraAtul Malhotra, MD, was installed as president of the American Thoracic Society (ATS) in a ceremony on May 19 during the ATS 2015 Plenary Session.

Dr. Malhotra is Kenneth M. Moser Professor, Chief of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, and Director of Sleep Medicine in the Department of Medicine.

Read ATS press release

Cigarette Smoke Makes Superbugs More Aggressive

In lab and mouse experiments, cigarette smoke helps drug-resistant bacteria fight off the immune system —

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), an antibiotic-resistant superbug, can cause life-threatening skin, bloodstream and surgical site infections or pneumonia. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine now report that cigarette smoke may make matters worse. The study, published March 30 by Infection and Immunity, shows that MRSA bacteria exposed to cigarette smoke become even more resistant to killing by the immune system. …Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Laura E. Crotty Alexander, MDPulmonologist Laura E. Crotty Alexander, MD, is senior author of the study report. She is a Health Sciences assistant clinical professor in the Department of Medicine at UC San Diego and a staff physician at the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System.

Read the study abstract with link to PDF in Infection and Immunity (UCSD only)

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.

The study, called “Molecular Determinants of Drug-Specific Sensitivity for Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) Exon 19 and 20 Mutants in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer,” and published online in the journal Oncotarget, demonstrates how computer modeling of EGFR mutations found in lung cancer can elucidate their molecular mechanism of action and consequently optimize the selection of therapeutic agents to treat patients. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Dr. Razelle Kurzrock

Dr. Razelle Kurzrock

The senior investigator in the study was Razelle Kurzrock, MD. Dr. Kurzrock is Chief of the Division of Hematology & Oncology; Murray Professor of Medicine; Senior Deputy Director, Clinical Science and
Director, Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy and Clinical Trials Office at the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center.

Lyudmila A. Bazhenova, MD, associate professor of medicine and leader of the Lung Cancer Unit Team at the Moores Cancer Center, was also an investigator in the study.

Read the study report (UC San Diego only)

New Cellular Pathway Triggering Allergic Asthma Response Identified

With molecular target found comes possibility of new therapies for millions of Americans —

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, with collaborators in Korea and Scotland, have identified a novel signaling pathway critical to the immune response of cells associated with the initiation of allergic asthma. The discovery, they say, could point the way to new therapies that suppress the inflammatory allergic response, offering potential relief to millions of Americans with the chronic lung condition and potentially other allergic diseases.

The results are published in the January 19 online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. . … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Dr. Eyal Raz

Dr. Eyal Raz

Principal investigator of the study is Eyal Raz, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, whose research focuses on the fundamentals of innate immunity.

First author of the report is Jihyung Lee, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the Raz lab.

Coauthors include David H. Broide, MB, ChB, professor of medicine and director of the division’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases-funded T32 training program in molecular and cell biology of allergy; Paul Insel, MD, professor of pharmacology and medicine; Maripat Corr, MD, professor of medicine; project scientist Jongdae Lee, PhD; all in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology; and Nicholas Webster, PhD, professor of medicine and chief of the UC San Diego Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism.

View article abstract

Thomas Savides, MD, Named Chief Experience Officer for UC San Diego Health System

Thomas Savides, MD, has been named as the first Chief Experience Officer at UC San Diego Health System. In the newly created role, Savides will be responsible for the strategy, leadership and implementation of the plan to improve the total health care experience of patients, families, providers and staff. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Dr. Rebecca Sell Receives ATS Young Investigator Award

Dr. Rebecca Sell

Dr. Rebecca Sell

Rebecca Sell, MD, associate director of the Internal Medicine Residency Program and assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, won an American Thoracic Society (ATS) 2014 Young Investigator Award for her presentation at the annual meeting of the Asian Pacific Society of Respirology (APSR) in Bali, Indonesia, November 13-16, 2014.

Her presentation was titled, “Difference in Outcomes between Senior Physician and Medicine Resident-led Code Blues.”

Dr. Sell was a chief medical resident in the UC San Diego Internal Medicine Residency Training Program in 2006-2007.

Dr. Rebecca Sell receiving award at 2014 APRS meeting.

Dr. Sell receiving the award. Photo by Atul Malhotra, MD.

On the APSR 2014 program faculty was Atul Malhotra, MD, Kenneth M. Moser Professor of Medicine, director of sleep medicine and chief of the UC San Diego Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine.

Dr. Malhotra, who received an ATS Young Investigator award in 2005, will serve as president of the ATS in 2015-2016.

Grant Gives New Breath to Patients Suffering from Severe Pulmonary Hypertension

Nearly $8 million grant helps launch a nationwide patient registry to improve CTEPH practices

Imagine trying to take a deep breath, but feeling like you’re sucking air through a straw. That’s how some patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) describe living with the condition, which is estimated to affect several thousand Americans yearly but is commonly misdiagnosed. UC San Diego Health System is a world leader in CTEPH, and now with a $7.6 million grant, has helped launch the first national CTEPH registry to improve best practices and patient care. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Dr. Kim KerrPrincipal Investigator of the project is Kim Kerr, MD, professor of clinical medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. She directs the Medical Intensive Care Unit at UC San Diego Health System’s Thornton Hospital in La Jolla.

Dr. Michael MadaniCardiac surgeon Michael Madani, MD, co-investigator, is chief of cardiothoracic surgery and director of UC San Diego Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center – Surgery.

San Diego’s 2014 Top Doctors List Includes 44 from Department of Medicine

Forty-four physicians from the Department of Medicine are among over 100 UC San Diego Health System doctors named to the 2014 San Diego Top Doctors list. See the list for UC San Diego Health System.

Not present on that list are two additional internal medicine physicians who practice at the VA San Diego Healthcare System: Charles Goldberg, MD, and Simerjot Jassal, MD. Dr. Jassal directs the Internal Medicine Residency Program.

The Top Doctors list comes from the annual “Physicians of Exceptional Excellence” survey from the San Diego County Medical Society and San Diego Magazine.

Read the UC San Diego Health System press release