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.

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

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.

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

Researchers ID Cancer Gene-Drug Combinations Ripe for Precision Medicine

Yeast, human cells and bioinformatics help develop one-two punch approach to personalized cancer therapy —

In an effort to expand the number of cancer gene mutations that can be specifically targeted with personalized therapies, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center looked for combinations of mutated genes and drugs that together kill cancer cells. Such combinations are expected to kill cancer cells, which have mutations, but not healthy cells, which do not. The study, published July 21 in Molecular Cell, uncovered 172 new combinations that could form the basis for future cancer therapies.

“Oncologists here at Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health and elsewhere can often personalize cancer therapy based on an individual patient’s unique cancer mutations,” said senior author Trey Ideker, PhD, … Read the Full Story by Heather Buschman from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Trey Ideker, PhD

Trey Ideker, PhD

Senior author of the study report in Molecular Cell is Trey Ideker, PhD, Professor of Medicine in the Division of Medical Genetics and Professor of Bioengineering at UC San Diego.

Gene Mutation “Hotspots” Linked to Better Breast Cancer Outcomes

Genetic phenomenon associated with low tumor invasiveness and longer patient survival could inform prognosis and help identify patients who would best respond to immunotherapy and other treatments —

Kataegis is a recently discovered phenomenon in which multiple mutations cluster in a few hotspots in a genome. The anomaly was previously found in some cancers, but it has been unclear what role kataegis plays in tumor development and patient outcomes. Using a database of human tumor genomic data, researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center have discovered that kataegis is actually a positive marker in breast cancer — patients with these mutation hotspots have less invasive tumors and better prognoses. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego News Center


Dr. Jill Mesirov

Dr. Jill Mesirov

The study coauthors included Department of Medicine faculty researchers Pablo Tamayo, PhD, and Jill P. Mesirov, PhD. Both are Professors of Medicine in the Division of Genetics.

Read the Full Text (UC San Diego Only)

No. 1 From the Start

UC San Diego Bioengineering ranked first by National Research Council since founding 50 years ago —

Bioengineers at UC San Diego have helped us understand why atherosclerosis develops and how it is impacted by blood flow. They have pioneered the development of very thin, small and flexible sensors that stick to the skin and monitor vital signs, such as the brain activity of a newborn. They also developed injectable hydrogels that can help muscle tissues heal after a heart attack.

Researchers celebrated their achievements over the past five decades and looked to the future during a three-day 50th anniversary celebration May 19 to 21. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Shu Chien, PhD

Shu Chien, PhD

The founding chair of the UC San Diego Department of Bioengineering is Shu Chien, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Medicine in the Division of Physiology and Professor of Bioengineering. He is founding director of the UC San Diego Institute of Engineering in Medicine.

Dr. Chien is an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, among many honorific societies, and he received the Franklin Institute Award in November 2015.

New Computer Program Can Help Uncover Hidden Genomic Alterations that Drive Cancers

Tested on large tumor genomics database, REVEALER method allows researchers to connect genomics to cell function —

Cancer is rarely the result of a single mutation in a single gene. Rather, tumors arise from the complex interplay between any number of mutually exclusive abnormal changes in the genome, the combinations of which can be unique to each individual patient. To better characterize the functional context of genomic variations in cancer, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and the Broad Institute developed a new computer algorithm they call REVEALER. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Jill Mesirov

Dr. Jill Mesirov

Co-senior authors on the REVEALER study report are Jill P. Mesirov, PhD, and Pablo Tamayo, PhD. Dr. Mesirov is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Medical Genetics and Associate Vice Chancellor for Computational Health Sciences at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

Dr. Tamayo is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Medical Genetics and Co-Director of the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center Genomics and Computational Biology Shared Resource.

Altman Clinical and Translational Research Building Makes Its Debut

New structure will be campus hub for advancing basic science to clinical applications —

Rising above Interstate 5 on the east campus of UC San Diego, the Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute Building (ACTRI) officially opened its doors Friday in a ribbon-cutting ceremony under blue skies.

The new seven-story building of steel, glass and grooved concrete is home to the Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTRI) at UC San Diego, established in 2010 as part of a national consortium of 60 medical research institutions created to energize bench-to-bedside efforts. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Countdown To Twin Astronaut’s Return – UC San Diego Readies Next Steps in Landmark Study

Study of identical twin astronauts advances NASA’s preparations for mission to Mars —

When astronaut Scott Kelly returns to Earth on March 1, half of NASA’s first-of-its-kind study of twin astronauts and long duration space flight, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and elsewhere will launch the mission’s next phase.

UC San Diego School of Medicine researchers are part of a national collaboration between NASA’s Human Research Program, the National Space Biomedical Research Institute and 10 investigative teams around the country, all seeking to better understand the effects of extended space travel by analyzing blood, urine and other samples from identical twin astronauts, Scott and Mark Kelly. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Kumar Sharma, MD, FAHA

Kumar Sharma, MD, FAHA

Kumar Sharma, MD, Professor of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, is a collaborator in the NASA twins study.

Dr. Sharma is Director of the Institute of Metabolomic Medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

Identical Twin Astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly. Credit: NASA.

Identical Twin Astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly.
Credit: NASA.