Nation’s First Angioedema Treatment Center Is at UC San Diego

US Hereditary Angioedema Association and four corporate partners endow center to treat rare hereditary swelling disease —

It is rare for an “orphan” disease (typically a condition that affects fewer than 200,000 people nationwide) to have a specific center dedicated to providing treatment and research. And it is even more unusual for big pharmaceutical companies to invest in an endowment to fund this type of center. Fortunately, the US Hereditary Angioedema Association (HAEA), a nonprofit patient advocacy organization, along with four pharmaceutical companies—Shire Human Genetics Therapies Inc., ViroPharma Incorporated (which merged with Shire), Dyax Corp. and CSL Bering—pledged a total of $4.6 million to help make the US HAEA Angioedema Center at UC San Diego Health System a reality. A number of individuals, including those with the disease, also provided private support. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego News Center

Dr. Bruce Zuraw

Dr. Bruce Zuraw

Dr. Bruce Zuraw is director of the US HAEA Angioedema Center at UC San Diego Health System and inaugural recipient of the US HAEA Endowed Chair at UC San Diego. He is professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology.

Dr. Marc Riedl

Dr. Marc Riedl

Marc Riedl, MD, MS, associate professor of medicine, is clinical director of the center.


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

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.

Bruce Zuraw, MD, Is New Chief of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology Division


From Wolfgang H. Dillmann, MD
Helen M. Ranney Distinguished Professor
Chair of the Department of Medicine

I am pleased to announce that an internal review committee has selected Dr. Bruce Zuraw as the new chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology in the Department of Medicine. He is also inaugural holder of the US Hereditary Angioedema Association (HAEA) Endowed Chair.

I would like to express my gratitude to Dr. Robert Terkeltaub, who accepted the role of interim division chief after Dr. Gary Firestein stepped down in June 2010. In leading the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology for the past three years, Dr. Terkeltaub has done an important service for the division and the department.

Bruce L. Zuraw, MD, professor of medicine, is Director of the Section of Allergy and Immunology at the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System and head of the Allergy & Immunology section of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology at UC San Diego. He directs the Allergy and Immunology Fellowship Program.

Dr. Zuraw is a highly respected clinician, researcher and thought leader in the field of allergy and immunology and an internationally recognized expert in hereditary angioedema. He chairs the Medical Advisory Board of the US Hereditary Angioedema Association (HAEA) and will direct the newly established US HAEA Angioedema Center at UC San Diego.

Dr. Zuraw joined the faculty of the UC San Diego School of Medicine in 2004 after many years as a fellow, clinician, researcher and leader at Scripps Clinic & Research Foundation and The Scripps Research Institute.

He was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, and received his undergraduate degree in biology from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, in 1972. He earned his M.D. degree and completed his internal medicine residency training at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine in Maywood, Illinois.

Dr. Zuraw received his fellowship training and established his research and clinical career in allergy and immunology at Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation and The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla. There, he rose to the rank of associate professor in the Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine and held a number of leadership positions, including director of the Allergy & Immunology Fellowship Training Program, associate director of the General Clinical Research Center and director of research for the Scripps Internal Medicine Residency Program.

Dr. Zuraw has been very active in service to the University and the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System. In addition to his divisional and educational program leadership positions, he has chaired the VA Research Space Committee and served on the DOMCAP Committee. He is currently on the VA Research Information Security Subcommittee and the Intern Selection Committee of the UCSD Internal Medicine Residency Program.

In his research, Dr. Zuraw is a highly respected investigator in the area of allergic inflammation in humans, with particular attention to hereditary angioedema, and the mechanism of action of glucocorticoids. He is principal investigator of a number of basic and clinical research projects including major projects funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, and the VA Merit program. He has published more than 120 peer-reviewed articles and nearly 50 invited reviews and book chapters.

Please join me in giving your enthusiastic support to Dr. Bruce Zuraw in his new position of leadership in the Department of Medicine.

High Rankings for Internal Medicine Specialties in 2013-2014 “America’s Best Hospitals” Report

Internal medicine subspecialties received high rankings and played a large part in UC San Diego Health System’s excellent showing in the U.S. News & World Report “America’s Best Hospitals 2013-2014” guide released July 16.

Clinical efforts of Department of Medicine divisions are either partly or completely responsible for 7 of the 10 UC San Diego Health System adult specialties that ranked in the nation’s top 50 this year and 1 of the 4 ranked as high performing:

In addition, Rheumatology is ranked as high performing once again (Division of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology).

Last year, three Department of Medicine specialties ranked in the nation’s top 50 and five were rated high performing.

Wolfgang H. Dillmann, MD“We can be very proud of achieving such a significant rise in our specialty rankings in one year,” said Wolfgang H. Dillmann, MD, Helen M. Ranney Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine.

In an announcement to the Department of Medicine faculty, he said, “Thank you for your hard work and your dedication in your patient care activities.

“Your efforts play a major part in distinguishing UC San Diego Health System as one of the finest hospitals in the country, and the top hospital in the San Diego metropolitan area.”

Details of the rankings for UC San Diego Health System are published online here. |  More about the methodology

Dr. Gregg Middleton: Q&A

Dr. Gregory MiddletonDr. Gregg Middleton is featured in the Getting to Know column in Making the Rounds, the UC San Diego Health System employee newsletter for April 24-30, 2013.  |  Read the story

Gregg Middleton, MD, is Health Sciences associate clinical professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology; and in the Department of Surgery. He specializes in osteoarthritis and the non-surgical care of patients with chronic joint and muscle pain.

In his research, Middleton investigates osteoarthritis, quality of life with chronic pain and medical management of chronic disease.

More Information:

In Memoriam: Virgil L. Woods, Jr., MD

Virgil L. Woods, Jr., MD
1948 – 2012

Dr. Virgil L. Woods, Jr.Virgil L. Woods, Jr., MD, pioneer in the field of proteomics and beloved teacher and clinician who spent his academic career at UC San Diego, died September 30 after an illness. He was 64 years old.

“We are very saddened at the loss of our colleague and friend,” said Wolfgang Dillmann, MD, Helen M. Ranney Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine.

Dr. Woods was professor of medicine in Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology.

“He was an enthusiastic clinician and teacher, and brought a high level of energy and critical thinking skills to the teaching and clinical programs in rheumatology at UCSD,” said Robert A. Terkeltaub, MD (below), professor of medicine and interim chief of the division.

Robert Terkeltaub, MD“He was very generous in his service roles. He will be greatly missed in our program, on both a personal and professional level. He was truly one of a kind.”

“Virgil Woods was a gifted scientist, an outstanding clinician, a generous colleague, and an enthusiastic teacher,” said Mark H. Ginsberg, MD (below), colleague of Dr. Woods and a fellow rheumatologist.

Dr. Ginsberg is professor of medicine in the divisions of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology and Hematology-Oncology and director of the UCSD Physician-Scientist Training Program.

“Virgil was an active and engaged rheumatologist,” he said.

Dr. Mark Ginsberg“He taught his subspecialty and particularly relished working on the front lines of inpatient medicine as an academic hospitalist. In this role he assumed responsibility for acutely ill patients with a wide spectrum of conditions and was a major resource for young physicians.

“Virgil was always willing to share the clinical work load with his colleagues and was unfailingly generous in making time to teach fellows, residents, and students,” Ginsberg said.

In addition to his teaching activities within the Department of Medicine, Dr. Woods was a faculty member in the UCSD Biomedical Sciences and Bioinformatics and Systems Biology graduate programs.

“He was a fountain of clinical and research wisdom,” Dr. Ginsberg said, “and his untimely death is a loss to the UCSD community.”

Dr. Woods was a highly respected and productive physician-scientist. “Virgil was one of the first to use monoclonal antibodies to examine the functional role of platelet cell surface receptors,” Dr. Ginsberg said.

“In doing so, he raised some of the earliest antibodies that blocked the function of platelet integrins, antibodies that were prototypes for agents in current use in the clinic in a spectrum of diseases including multiple sclerosis and arterial thrombosis.”

In recent years, his research centered upon structural biology applications of an advanced proteomics technology.

“Virgil had a dream to use mapping of amino acids that were protected from chemical modification as a means to assess protein folding and identify sites involved in protein-protein interactions,” said Dr. Ginsberg. “With the advent of modern high-resolution protein mass spectroscopy, it was possible to analyze deuterium exchange of whole proteins as a means to study their higher order structure,” he said.

“Virgil’s singular contribution was to develop methods to proteolytically cleave proteins into peptides under conditions that prevented further deuterium exchange. This enabled him to map the accessibility of individual peptides in a folded protein, a technique called peptide amide hydrogen-deuterium exchange mass spectrometry (DXMS).”

In the following years, Dr. Woods and his colleagues refined the DXMS method, increasing its resolution and applying it in an expanding range of protein studies.

“His techniques have found wide applicability in the study of protein structures in the Structural Genomics Initiative and have been used around the world to assess protein-protein interactions,” Dr. Ginsberg said.

The work resulted in seven patents and earned considerable funding from the National Institutes of Health and other sources. Dr. Woods was the UCSD Technology Transfer Office’s Fall 2012 “Featured Pioneer.”

Dr. Woods directed the DXMS Proteomics Resource at UCSD and was actively collaborating with researchers at UCSD, The Scripps Research Institute, the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, the Salk Institute and other institutions in the United States and abroad.

“Virgil’s scientific achievements spring directly from his vision, dedication, and perseverance,” said Dr. Ginsberg. “He had a true scientific ‘green thumb.’ He could make things work when many others had tried and failed.”

Dr. Woods received his undergraduate training at UC San Francisco (BS, medical sciences) and UCSD (BA, biochemistry) and his MD degree at UC San Francisco. After interning and completing his residency at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, he came to UCSD as a rheumatology fellow in 1979.

He joined the Department of Medicine faculty when he completed his fellowship in 1981, and served UCSD for 31 years.

“Virgil was an outstanding colleague and faculty member by being an exceptional clinician, enthusiastic teacher and highly creative scientist,” said Dr. Dillmann.

Dr. Woods is survived by his wife, Betsy, and three children; his parents; and three brothers.
Profile of Dr. Woods

UCSD Press Releases About His Work