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

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.

New UC San Diego Program Expands Campus Innovation Pipeline

The innovation ecosystem at UC San Diego will open more opportunities for campus entrepreneurs with the launch of Accelerating Innovations to Market (AIM), an ambitious program that encourages graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, researchers and faculty to develop and commercialize their problem-solving ideas.

Coordinated by the Office of Innovation and Commercialization (OIC), the program invests in milestone-based projects that develop proofs-of-concept and reduce the risk of early-stage technologies. According to Paul Roben, Associate Vice Chancellor for Innovation, a central focus of AIM is value-driven engagement with industry. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom