UC San Diego Ranks 6th Among U.S. Universities for Research & Development Dollars

The University of California, San Diego again ranked 6th among top U.S. universities in total research and development expenditures for fiscal year 2010, with $580,279 million in federal R&D money and $943,219 million in total R&D expenditures. The numbers were announced by the National Science Foundation (NSF)…. Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom

Researcher in laboratory at UC San Diego.
In fiscal year 2010-2011, the research funding in the Department of Medicine totaled $113.6 million from nearly 380 individual contracts and grants.

More about research in the Department of Medicine:

Scientists Map Changes in Genetic Networks Caused By DNA Damage

Using a new technology called “differential epistasis maps,” an international team of scientists, led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, has documented for the first time how a cellular genetic network completely rewires itself in response to stress by DNA-damaging agents… Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom

Dr. Trey Ideker

Senior author of the study is Trey Ideker, Ph.D., Professor and Chief of the Division of Medical Genetics in the Department of Medicine and Professor of Bioengineering (pictured above).  Department of Medicine faculty coauthors include Richard D. Kolodner, Ph.D., Professor in the Division of Hematology-Oncology.

Read the abstract of the article in the December 3 issue of Science.

Thirty-Five Department of Medicine Physicians Named to 2010 Top Doctors List

For their clinical excellence in the opinion of their fellow doctors in San Diego County, 35 faculty physicians from the Department of Medicine have been named to the 2010 edition of the “San Diego’s Top Doctors” list.

The San Diego County Medical Society conducts its Physicians of Exceptional Excellence survey each year, asking its members to name the board-certified doctors they choose when they refer their own family members or patients to a specialist. The goal is to recognize the top 5% of the doctors in each specialty.The result is the “Top Doctors” list, released in the October issue of San Diego Magazine. This year, there are 82 UC San Diego physicians on the list, which includes a total of 510 doctors in 49 specialties.In 2009, the “Top Doctors” list included 475 physicians, 80 from UC San Diego and 36 from the Department of Medicine.

Again this year, the list includes more physicians from the UC San Diego Health System than from any other medical center or medical group in the region.

“This is an important achievement for UCSD and for the Department of Medicine,” said Dr. Wolfgang H. Dillmann, Professor and Interim Chair of the Department of Medicine (pictured at left).

Visit our
Top Doctors gallery

Top Doctors gallery

Read the press release
from UC San Diego News

Read the San Diego
Magazine story

“By many measures, we are providing excellent care for our patients, and we have earned the respect of our colleagues in the community in doing so,” he said.

Of the 35 Department of Medicine physicians honored in 2010, most have been named to the list at least once before. Four are being recognized for the seventh straight year:

Three Department of Medicine doctors were named in two different specialties:

San Diego Magazine first published a “Top Doctors” list in 2002. The San Diego County Medical Society and the magazine have collaborated to produce the “Top Doctors” list since 2004.

Here are the names of this year’s Department of Medicine awardees, listed by subspecialty division and followed by the number of years each has been named to the “Top Doctors” list:


Emergency Medicine

Endocrinology & Metabolism


General Internal Medicine



Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine

CTRI Receives $37.2 Million Clinical and Translational Science Award

A 5-year, $37.2 million grant award for the Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTRI) is the subject of the UCSD Newsroom story, “UC San Diego Receives Major Clinical and Translational Science Award.”

Dr. Gary Firestein, Director of the CTRI, is principal investigator of the project. Dr. Firestein is Dean of Translational Medicine for UC San Diego Health Sciences and Professor of Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology.

Dr. Lucila Ohno-Machado Elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation

Dr. Lucila Ohno-Machado

Dr. Lucila Ohno-Machado

Dr. Lucila Ohno-Machado, Professor of Medicine and founding chief of the Division of Biomedical Informatics, has been elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI).

Membership in the ASCI is a distinction that recognizes the nation’s most outstanding physician-scientists.

The honorees for 2010 were introduced April 24 at a joint meeting of the ASCI and the Association of American Physicians in Chicago.

Lucila Ohno-Machado, M.D., Ph.D., is a groundbreaking researcher and a respected director of advanced training programs in biomedical informatics. She joined the Department of Medicine faculty from Harvard Medical School in 2009.

“Lucila has always been a leader, and she will continue to lead UCSD in new directions in biomedical informatics, developing critical new tools that will help both basic researchers and clinicians in moving their programs forward,” said Kenneth Kaushansky, M.D., M.A.C.P., Helen M. Ranney Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine.

“Her election to ASCI highlights both her accomplishments and the increasing recognition of her field as a critical component of the academic medical center,” he said.

Dr. Ohno-Machado’s primary research interest is prognostic modeling, the development of statistical models to predict clinical outcomes. She is principal investigator of an NIH-funded grant to develop methods for improving the calibration of prognostic models and of another research project funded by the Komen Foundation to validate breast cancer biomarkers using computational techniques.

Dr. Ohno-Machado received her M.D. degree from the University of São Paulo and her Ph.D. in Medical Information Sciences and Computer Science from Stanford University.

She is an elected fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. She serves as associate editor for both the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association and the Journal of Biomedical Informatics.

Since 2004, during her tenure at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital of Harvard Medical School, Dr. Ohno-Machado has directed the Biomedical Research Informatics for Global Health Training (BRIGHT) Program, an educational consortium funded by the Fogarty International Center of the NIH.

The aim of the program is to unite U.S. researchers and institutions in a collaborative effort to conduct research and to develop informatics research training programs in low- and middle-income countries.

In its first five years, the program concentrated its efforts in Brazil, where it developed a certificate program in clinical informatics and supported a new doctoral program in bioinformatics at the University of São Paulo.

With a new 5-year, $1.23-million grant awarded last fall, the BRIGHT program is expanding its efforts to include Maputo, Mozambique, as well as additional areas of Brazil.

In Memoriam: Helen M. Ranney, M.D.

From Kenneth Kaushansky, MD
Helen M. Ranney Distinguished Professor and Chair, Department of Medicine

Dear Friends,

Helen M. Ranney, M.D.It is with a very heavy heart that I write to report the Department of Medicine, the School of Medicine, the University and the entire San Diego community have lost a great friend and leader. Dr. Helen Ranney, research and clinical hematologist extraordinaire, pioneering Chair of Medicine and professional society president, and soaring intellect has passed away last night, just a week before her 90th birthday.

Helen was born and raised on a dairy farm in upstate New York, to parents who stimulated her to seek a professional career. While setting out on pre-law studies at Barnard College, she soon found she liked “working with people” and “fixing what you studied,” redirecting her efforts towards pre-medical studies. While initially declined admission to medical school, Helen sought out research training, and was then admitted to Columbia School of Medicine, eventually studying hematology under the direction of Dr. Irving London.

In 1953, Helen determined a method to separate normal from abnormal hemoglobin and used this to identify mixed hemoglobins in the relatives of children with sickle cell anemia, laying the foundation for the genetic basis of this and other “hemoglobinopathies.” For this and other work, Helen was awarded the Martin Luther King Medical Achievement Award soon after the great civil rights leader’s death.

Helen’s work next took her to the faculty of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and then the State University of New York in Buffalo. 1973 was a good year for San Diego, and a good year for Helen; in that year Helen was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, and was recruited to UC San Diego, to serve as the first female Chair of a University Department of Medicine.

During her tenure at UC San Diego, Helen led the Department to scientific and clinical excellence. She also played an important role on the national academic stage, serving as President of the American Society of Hematology, and as the first female president of the prestigious Association of American Physicians.

Helen then served as the first female “Distinguished Physician” of the Veterans Affairs medical centers, and upon her retirement, the Helen M. Ranney Chair was established, the first Endowed Chair at UC San Diego named after a female professor.

Helen’s career was marked by her intelligent approach to both clinical and research issues, her ability to achieve and inspire greatness, and her incredible wit. It is my great honor and privilege to serve as the Helen M. Ranney Professor, arguably the very best “perk” available to the Chair of our Department!

Everyone has a favorite Helen story, and I am no exception. It occurred soon after my arrival as the fourth Chair of the Department. Then Dean Dr. Edward Holmes held a reception, thanking Dr. Roger Spragg for his recent service as Interim Chair, and welcoming me to my new post. Soon after arriving in San Diego, while moving into our new house, I fell from a ladder and broke my arm, the cast drying just in time for Ed’s reception. Needless to say, a fresh coat of plaster on the new Chair called for an explanation.

By now I was surrounded by Deans, Vice Deans, Vice and Associate Chancellors, Chairs, a plethora of other leaders, and Helen, telling my story: “…as soon as I fell, the arm was clearly misshapen, but for some reason, it didn’t seem to hurt…. then Lauren brought me to the Hillcrest Hospital emergency room, and by holding the arm, it didn’t hurt…..then the orthopedic surgeon came down to the emergency room, and gave me Brevitol to reduce the fracture, and it didn’t hurt…” whereupon Helen declared, “Oh, it must be Tabes Dorsalis (a neurological deterioration that blocks painful stimuli, due to advanced syphilis)!”

Thanks, Helen!

Helen M. Ranney has served as a role model for countless women and men of medicine and science, all attempting to emulate her warmth, teaching style, inquisitiveness and impact on her field. She inspired many to take on the great responsibility of leadership and to carry on the tradition of innovation in medicine that is the UC San Diego Department of Medicine. I’ll always remember her as an intelligent and inventive mover and shaker in American academic medicine. Truly, thank you, Helen!

Kenneth Kaushansky, MD, MACP
Helen M. Ranney Distinguished Professor and Chair, Department of Medicine

Photo of Dr. Ranney, above, from the National Library of Medicine.

Early Successes: Global Medicine Update from Mozambique

Since it began last summer, the Global Medicine Program at UC San Diego has sent 11 internal medicine residents to Mozambique, sparked several new research projects, and stimulated learning on both sides of this unique international partnership.

The Republic of Mozambique. Map from CIA: The World Factbook.

The Republic of Mozambique.
Map from CIA: The World Factbook.

The Global Medicine Program is a two-way exchange of faculty and residents between UCSD and the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane in Maputo, Mozambique. It is part of the Department of Medicine’s efforts to expand its involvement in global health.

“I think the program has made absolutely incredible progress,” said Dr. Constance Benson, Professor of Medicine and Director of UCSD’s Fellowship Training Program in Infectious Diseases.

Dr. Benson is a faculty director of the program.

During their 3-week stay, the UCSD internal medicine residents rotate through four different wards at Maputo General Hospital. Dr. Michael Preziosi, Clinical Director of the program, serves as faculty attending physician on site in Maputo.

Mozambican internal medicine residents

Mozambican internal medicine residents (left to right) Drs. Clotilde Tilwene, Neusa Jessen, Marilia Vida. Photo by Mike Preziosi, MD

Working together with the Mozambican doctors, the UCSD residents are encountering diseases they have never seen before and far more advanced stages of diseases frequently seen in San Diego; schistosomiasis, for example, and full-blown tuberculosis.

In one 24-hour period, Dr. Preziosi said, his patients included one who had tetanus with lockjaw, one with a liver cancer caused by a fungus that grows on peanuts, and one who had an advanced case of pellagra.

Broadening UCSD’s Internal Medicine Residency Training Program is one of the goals of the Global Medicine Program. Promoting collaborative global health research is another.

Mozambican residents at a presentation

U.S. and Mozambican residents at a presentation. Photo by Mike Preziosi, MD.

In the past six months, UCSD residents, fellows, and faculty members have begun to partner with Maputo researchers in new studies of tuberculosis and other endemic diseases.

UCSD is also introducing tools and practices that will strengthen the medical education program at Universidade Eduardo Mondlane.

A weekly journal club, instituted by UCSD residents, has been very well received.

“On the wards with the Mozambican residents, what’s going on has been really inspiring,” said Dr. Preziosi. “We’re seeing them get excited about medicine again.”This, in turn, refreshes the American residents, he said.

“I think they are getting a renewed sense of the purpose and value of the educational activities they are helping to introduce,” Dr. Preziosi said, “and are participating in them with renewed energy.”

Mozambican and American residents

Mozambican resident Marilia Vida (left) with Dr. Sarah Fox, second-year UCSD resident. Photo by Mike Preziosi, MD.

Mozambican residents will begin rotations at UCSD later this year.

“What makes our program unique,” said Dr. Robert “Chip” Schooley, “is that the transfer of capacity is being done in a peer-to-peer fashion by people who are transferring knowledge about jobs they do all the time.“The Mozambican residents see our residents as counterparts who are sharing their own experiences.”

Dr. Schooley, a Faculty Director of the program, is Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases. “I think this program will break a lot of ground,” he said.

UCSD faculty appointments have been granted to Drs. Emilia Noormahomed and Sam Patel, the faculty leaders on the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane side of the Global Medicine Program.

UCSD is assisting with material needs in Maputo as well.

Last summer, a UCSD team brought a supply of modern tuberculosis protective masks for the Mozambican residents’ workroom at the hospital. There is a great shortage of other basic clinical supplies.

To help meet such needs and to sustain the Global Medicine Program, Dr. Schooley and colleagues are stepping up their fundraising efforts.

“We can make a real impact on the health of this country with a very modest investment,” said Dr. Kenneth Kaushansky. Dr. Kaushansky, Helen M. Ranney Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine, is Director of the Global Medicine Program.

As the U.S. and Mozambican residents care for patients and pursue their studies together, they lay groundwork for stronger healthcare systems in both nations. In the face of overwhelming need in Maputo, they press forward with the resources available.

Drs. Benson and Schooley are veterans of many successful efforts to improve healthcare delivery in Africa.

“You overcome,” said Dr. Benson. “One day at a time, one patient at a time.”

* * *

The Global Medicine elective rotation is open to second- and third-year residents and to Department of Medicine faculty members from all specialties.

For more information on the Global Medicine Program,
visit http://imresidency.ucsd.edu/GlobalMed.shtml.

Read our news story about the launch of the Global Medicine Program here.

Give to our Global Medicine Program.