In Memoriam: Nathan J. Zvaifler, MD

An announcement from Wolfgang H. Dillmann, MD, Helen M. Ranney Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine

Dr. Nathan J. Zvaifler

Dr. Nathan J. Zvaifler

Emeritus professor Nathan J. Zvaifler, MD, former chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology and a founder and influential leader in the Department of Medicine, passed away on January 28 at the age of 87.

Dr. Zvaifler was internationally known for his research and academic leadership. Here at UC San Diego, he was also beloved for his generosity in teaching and mentorship. Although he retired to emeritus status officially in 2008, he remained active in his instructional activities for years later.

Dr. Zvaifler left his stamp not only on the successful growth of the academic division he led for two decades but also on the character of the Department of Medicine and the School of Medicine.

In 1970, he was recruited from Georgetown University, where he had led the Arthritis Unit since 1961, to head the rheumatology division in the new medical school at UC San Diego.

From 1972 to 1974, he served as acting chair of the Department of Medicine after founding chair Eugene Braunwald left to take a position at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital of the Harvard Medical School.

This was a period that subsequent Department of Medicine Chair Dr. Helen M. Ranney later described as “a crucial two years in the development of the new School of Medicine at UCSD.”

Dr. Zvaifler spent his entire career at UC San Diego.

A lectureship, the Rheumatology Lectureship Fund, was established in Dr. Zvaifler’s name by the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology in 2008. Its purpose is to bring internationally recognized investigators to UC San Diego for seminars and teaching activities. More detail can be found at http://raidivision.ucsd.edu/About/giving/Pages/give-zvaifler.aspx.

Contributions in Dr. Zvaifler’s memory can be made to the Rheumatology Research Foundation of the American College of Rheumatology.

The American College of Rheumatology conducted a 75th Anniversary Interview with Dr. Zvaifler in 2009.

Live Long and Measure: Quest to Create Real-World Tricorder

XPRIZE teams will test Star Trek-inspired medical devices at UC San Diego —

Seeking to boldly go where medical science has not gone before, the Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTRI) at the University of California, San Diego has been named the official testing site for the $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, a global competition sponsored by the Qualcomm Foundation to develop a consumer-friendly, mobile device capable of diagnosing and interpreting 15 physiological conditions and capturing vital health metrics.

The XPRIZE competition is inspired by the tricorder medical device that debuted in the original 1966 Star Trek TV show and was frequently featured in subsequent series and movies. …Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Gary FiresteinGary S. Firestein, MD, is director of the CTRI and dean and associate vice chancellor of translational medicine at UC San Diego.

He is professor of medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology and served as division chief from 1998 until he stepped down in 2010 to focus on his growing responsibilities as dean of translational medicine and director of the CTRI for UC San Diego Health Sciences.

First Angioedema Treatment Center Opens at UC San Diego Health System

UC San Diego Health System in partnership with the U.S. Hereditary Angioedema Association (HAEA), a non-profit patient advocacy organization, has opened the nation’s first dedicated center for diagnosing and treating diverse forms of swelling, known collectively as angioedema.

The U.S. HAEA Angioedema Center at UC San Diego Health System will serve as an international referral center for people with all types of angioedema and will work closely with basic science laboratories at UC San Diego School of Medicine to better understand the condition and develop new treatments. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Bruce Zuraw

Dr. Bruce Zuraw

Bruce Zuraw, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, is the U.S. HAEA Angioedema Center’s director and the inaugural recipient of the U.S. HAEA Endowed Chair at UC San Diego.  |  Dr. Zuraw’s clinical profile

Dr. Marc Riedl

Dr. Marc Riedl

Marc Riedl, MD, MS, associate professor of medicine, is the Center’s clinical director.  |  Dr, Riedl’s clinical profile

 

UC San Diego Part of New Effort to Fight Autoimmune Disorders

Major multi-year partnership will focus first on rheumatoid arthritis and lupus

The Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine has been named a key site in a national, multi-institution, multi-year $41.6 million program to speed drug discovery, development, diagnostics and therapies for patients with autoimmune disorders, primarily rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and lupus erythematosus, which affect millions of Americans. …Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Powerful Approach to the Analysis of Protein Motions

DXMS analysis provides novel tool for studying how movements allow proteins to perform their functions as molecular machines

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston have concluded a study that offers a new understanding of the role that motions, or dynamics, play in the functioning of the protein Epac2. Their work provides information likely to help scientists design drugs to battle major diseases in which Epac2 plays a role, such as diabetes and cancer. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom

Virgil L. Woods, Jr., MD

The study’s UC San Diego principal investigator is Virgil L. Woods, Jr., MD, Professor of Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology (pictured). First author Sheng Li, PhD, is chief scientist in the UCSD DXMS Proteomics Resource.

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. Gary Firestein Steps Down as Chief of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology; Dr. Robert Terkeltaub Named Interim Chief

Dr. Gary Firestein

Dr. Gary Firestein

Dr. Gary Firestein will step down as Chief of the Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology division as of July 1, announced Dr. Ken Kaushansky, Helen M. Ranney Distinguished Professor and outgoing Chair of the Department of Medicine.

Dr. Firestein, who has been chief of the division since 1998, is making the move because of the increasing demands of his leadership responsibilities as Dean of Translational Medicine and Director of the Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTRI) for UCSD Health Sciences.

“During the last 12 years, the division grew dramatically in both accomplishments and international visibility. This is due entirely to the incredibly creative faculty, our outstanding trainees, and the dedicated staff,” said Dr. Firestein.

“I want to express my thanks to Dr. Firestein for being such an outstanding division leader for the past 12 years,” said Dr. Kaushansky. “Under Gary’s leadership, the division has continued to grow and prosper in all three of its missions: research, education, and clinical care.

“The division has gone from unranked to a consistent top-20 ranking in the ‘America’s Best Hospitals’ list from U.S.News & World Report,” he said. “Its research portfolio has grown to be generally among the largest in the department.”

“Gary has also overseen the creation and expansion of the Center for Innovative Therapy as a model for translational medicine and helped bring in supporting program project grants,” Dr. Kaushansky said.

These include the NIH-funded Specialized Centers of Research program on rheumatoid arthritis, the Rheumatic Diseases Core Center grant from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), and a new NIAMS Ruth L. Kirschstein T32 Training Grant to support research training in rheumatic diseases.

“Gary has also recruited a number of very successful research-oriented faculty into the Rheumatology and Allergy/Immunology sections,” Dr. Kaushansky said. “The division’s clinical mission has expanded to include a novel multidisciplinary clinic with the Department of Orthopaedics.

Dr. Robert Terkeltaub

Dr. Robert Terkeltaub

Dr. Robert A. Terkeltaub, Professor of Medicine, will serve as Interim Chief. For most of the last decade, Dr. Terkeltaub has served as Associate Director of the division and Director of the Rheumatology Training Program.

He has been Chief of the Rheumatology Section at the VA San Diego Healthcare System since 1985.

“I’m grateful to Dr. Robert Terkeltaub for agreeing to serve in the interim role,” said Dr. Kaushansky. “I know he will carry on the rich tradition of the division.”

“Dr. Terkeltaub is an outstanding physician-scientist who has played an integral role in the division’s success. We are truly grateful that he agreed to take on this new responsibility,” said Dr. Firestein.

“I look forward to helping the division through the transition period and into the future,” Dr. Terkeltaub said.

“We are very proud of our faculty and their accomplishments,” he said. “We want to ensure that the clinical programs remain strong and the clinical, translational, and basic research from our very accomplished faculty members grows in breadth, quality, and scope.”

Another goal, he said, is to increase the division’s interaction with other Department of Medicine divisions, including the three newest – Geriatrics, Global Public Health, and Biomedical Informatics.

About Dr. Terkeltaub

Dr. Terkeltaub received his M.D. degree and completed his internship, residency, and fellowship at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. From 1981 to 1984, he was a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Mark Ginsberg at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla.

He spent the following year as a research associate at The Scripps Research Institute before he joined the UCSD faculty as Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology and Chief of the Rheumatology Section at the VA San Diego Healthcare System.

Dr. Terkeltaub has served on numerous study sections for the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association, the Arthritis National Research Foundation, and other organizations. He is currently Associate Editor of the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.

As an investigator, Dr. Terkeltaub studies the interfaces of inflammation with skeletal and vascular biology, focusing on arthritis and vascular diseases, including infantile artery calcification, gout, and osteoarthritis. At the VA and UCSD, his lab discovered the molecular etiology of generalized artery calcification of infancy, and has done seminal research on innate immunity in gout, and on cartilage innate immunity and chondrocyte hypertrophy in osteoarthritis.

About Dr. Firestein

Dr. Gary Firestein first joined the UCSD Department of Medicine faculty in 1988 as Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology.

He spent 1992 through 1996 as Senior Director of Immunology for Gensia, Inc, and returned to UCSD as Associate Professor of Medicine in 1996. He was promoted to Professor of Medicine in 1998, when he was also appointed division chief.

On a personal note, Dr. Kaushansky said, “Gary was the only person I knew at UCSD when I started interviewing for the position here. We collaborated on a couple of papers back in our formative days.”

Those days were in the late 1980s, when Dr. Kaushansky was Assistant Professor in the Division of Hematology at the University of Washington and the younger Dr. Firestein was Assistant Professor in the Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology division here at UCSD.

The two papers reported some of Dr. Firestein’s earliest work, with his mentor and then-division chief Dr. Nathan Zvaifler, on the presence of pro-inflammatory mediators in the synovial fluid of rheumatoid arthritis patients.

In the following years, Dr. Firestein’s basic science studies would open the way for the development of anti-cytokine agents as the first broadly effective treatments for rheumatoid arthritis.

Dr. Firestein was founding director of the UCSD Clinical Investigation Institute, a responsibility that has evolved into his current role as Director of the Clinical and Translational Research Institute.

He was appointed Dean of Translational Medicine for UCSD Health Sciences in 2008.

In the Media: Dr. Gary Firestein

Dr. Gary Firestein is interviewed for comment in the article, “California Budget Cuts Affect Rheumatology” in The Rheumatologist, page 24.

Gary Firestein, M.D., is Dean for Translational Medicine and Professor of Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology.