UC San Diego Health System Retains #1 Ranking

US News & World Report Cites Region’s Only Academic Health System Among Nation’s Best 

UC San Diego Health System remains among the nation’s best, according to the U.S. News & World Report’s 2014-15 issue of “America’s Best Hospitals,” released this week. The magazine’s widely cited findings again placed UC San Diego Health System first in the San Diego metropolitan area and fifth in California, with national rankings in 11 specialties, up from 10 last year. This is comparable to the country’s most prestigious health care institutions.  Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom

Sulpizio Cardiovascular CenterUC San Diego Health System is nationally ranked in eleven medical specialties, including seven in the Department of Medicine:  Cancer, Cardiology, Endocrinology & Diabetes, Gastroenterology, Geriatrics, Nephrology, Pulmonology and Rheumatology.

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

Seema Sharma Aceves MD, PhD, Elected to American Society for Clinical Investigation

Dr. Seema S. AcevesUC San Diego pediatric allergy/immunology physician-scientist Seema Sharma Aceves, MD, PhD, has been elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI).

She was formally inducted into the Society in a ceremony at the ASCI annual meeting in Chicago on April 26.

“It is a true honor to be included in this distinguished group of translational research leaders,” Aceves said.

“Seema represents the best and the brightest among clinical investigators today,” said Gary S. Firestein, MD, who nominated her for the honor.

“Her remarkable progress understanding the causes of an unusual and very debilitating disease in children made a significant impact on their quality of life.”

Firestein is professor of medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology, Dean of Translational Medicine, Associate Vice Chancellor of Translational Medicine and director of the Clinical and Translational Research Institute.

Aceves, a specialist in pediatric eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), is associate professor of clinical medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology and associate professor of pediatrics in the Division of Allergy-Immunology-Rheumatology.

In her research, she investigates the mechanisms of tissue remodeling in EoE, exploring the role of pro-inflammatory and pro-fibrotic molecules. Major support for her work comes from a National Institutes of Health R01 research grant and funding from the Department of Defense.  |  Read NIH grant abstract

Her clinical specialty is pediatric allergy (Rady Children’s Specialists of San Diego). She practices at Rady Children’s Hospital – San Diego, where she directs the Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disorders Clinic.

Aceves received all of her medical training at UC San Diego. After she earned her MD and PhD in the Medical Scientist Training Program, she completed her internship and residency in the Department of Pediatrics and her fellowship training in allergy and immunology in the Department of Medicine.

She is board certified in allergy/immunology and pediatric allergy/immunology.

She was named a Physician of Exceptional Excellence in the 2012-2013 “San Diego’s Top Doctors” survey from the San Diego County Medical Society and San Diego Magazine and listed as one of the nation’s top doctors on the 2012-2013 U.S.News & World Report “Top Doctors” List.

Vital Protein Complex and Therapeutic Possibilities Revealed

Trio of papers describe in unprecedented detail a major molecular target for drugs

Three international teams of scientists, led by researchers at the University of California San Diego, University of Michigan and Stanford University, have published a trio of papers describing in unprecedented detail the structure and workings of -G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), a large family of human proteins that are the target of one-third to one-half of modern drugs…. Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom

DrWoods_100x100A coauthor on two of the reports is Virgil L. Woods, Jr., MD, Professor of Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology.
Read one of the reports in Proceedings of the National Academy of SciencesAbstract  |  Full text (PDF, UCSD only).

In the Media: Dr. Robert Terkeltaub

Dr. Robert Terkeltaub is featured in the segment “Gout Prevention” in the Information Television Network series, Healthy Body, Healthy Mind.

Robert Terkeltaub, Ph.D., is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy, and Immunology at UCSD and Chief of the Rheumatology Section at the Veterans Administration San Diego Healthcare System.

4th Annual Frontiers of Clinical Investigation Symposium – Metabolism 2009: From Bench to Bedside, October 8-10

Hosted by the UC San Diego Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTRI) and Nature Medicine, “Metabolism 2009: From Bench to Bedside” will convene as the 4th Annual Frontiers of Clinical Investigation Symposium October 8-10 in La Jolla.
Gary S. Firestein, M.D., is course co-director with Juan Carlos Lopez, Ph.D., editor of Nature magazine.Dr. Firestein, Dean for Translational Medicine at UCSD, is Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology.

Among the other UC San Diego symposium organizers is Jerrold M. Olefsky, M.D. Dr. Olefsky, Associate Dean for Scientific Affairs, is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Metabolism 2009 will be held at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines. For more information, please visit the Metabolism 2009 website.

Dr. Gary Firestein
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New York Times Health Guide Highlights Dr. Gary Firestein’s Work in Rheumatoid Arthritis

UCSD rheumatologist Dr. Gary S. Firestein is featured in a New York Times profile on current treatment and future research directions for rheumatoid arthritis.

Published in the New York Times Health Guide, the profile describes Dr. Firestein’s pioneering work in the use of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

Gary S. Firestein, M.D., is Professor of Medicine, Chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology and Dean of Translational Medicine at UCSD.

Read the New York Times article

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American Board of Allergy and Immunology elects Dr. Stephen I. Wasserman as president

Dr. Stephen I. Wasserman has been elected president of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology.

He will serve in 2009 as president-elect and begin his term as president in January 2010.

Read the full story
from UC San Diego
Health Sciences

Dr. Wasserman is professor of medicine and former director of the Allergy and Immunology section in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology.

More Information

Election to AAP Recognizes Distinguished Career of Dr. David H. Broide

David H. Broide, M.B., Ch.B., joined an elite group of physicians from around the world when he was inducted into the prestigious Association of American Physicians (AAP) in April, 2008.

A deeply respected clinician and physician scientist, Dr. Broide is Professor of Medicine and Director of the Research Training Program in the Section of Allergy/Immunology in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology at UC San Diego.

He is one of only 55 physicians elected to the AAP this year.

Dr. Broide devotes his patient care and his research to the treatment of asthma and allergic disorders. In his laboratory, he studies airway remodeling, which is the slow and irreversible damage that asthma produces in the bronchial tubes of a subset of asthmatics.

“Finding new therapies is our goal,” Dr. Broide says.

He seeks to discover precisely what causes the airway damage and how it can be stopped.

The causes are complex, but there is hope for new treatments

Severe asthma affects approximately 5-10% of individuals who have the disease, but it accounts for about half of the healthcare costs of asthma, which total $8 billion a year in the U.S.

Patients who have the severe form of asthma live with frequent emergency room visits and hospitalizations, the need for a variety of medications, and the loss of productivity that comes with a serious chronic illness.

Approximately 4,000 to 5,000 individuals die from asthma each year in the U.S.

Dr. Broide says the causes of asthma are complex and are not fully understood.  “Asthma,” he says, “is an example of a disease that has both a genetic as well as an environmental contribution.

“Over 100 genes have been linked to asthma, and probably more haven’t been discovered.”

No single gene has been found to be responsible for more than about 5% of the cases of asthma.

In the genetics of asthma, Dr. Broide looks for new treatment possibilities

Because so many gene products are involved in causing asthma, it has not been effective to treat it by targeting individual genes. An alternative strategy is to identify and block the “master genes” that regulate groups of other genes.

One such master gene, NF-ΚB, controls many genes that are important to asthma. It’s therefore a potential therapeutic target. If a compound can block NF-ΚB in the bronchial tubes, it could potentially be effective in treating asthma.

One of Dr. Broide’s chief collaborators in this effort is Michael Karin, Ph.D., Professor of Pharmacology in the Laboratory of Gene Regulation and Signal Transduction at UC San Diego. Dr. Karin is an authority on NF-ΚB.

Targeting a master gene in asthma: early results are promising

In a study with Dr. Karin, Dr. Broide and his laboratory found that inactivating NF-ΚB in the epithelial cells lining the interior of the bronchial tubes of mice results in a significant improvement in airway remodeling and other features of airway remodeling induced by long-term exposure to inhaled allergens.

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academic of Sciences in 2006. |  Read the article (free full text)

Recent discoveries uncover new treatment possibilities

“The field of immunology and asthma is full of opportunities for new discoveries,” Dr. Broide says. “It’s an exciting time to be in the field, which is changing very rapidly.

“We have a lot of interesting molecular advances in the field that will provide an opportunity to devise new therapies and better treat our patients.”

One such molecular advance is the study of Toll like receptor-9 (TLR-9) vaccines in allergy. Activation of TLR-9 receptors inhibits allergic responses in mouse models of allergy and asthma.

In an NIH-sponsored Immune Tolerance Network study, Dr. Broide in collaboration with Dr. Peter S. Creticos at Johns Hopkins University demonstrated that a TLR-9 vaccine significantly improved symptoms of sinus allergies in patients with ragweed allergy.

The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2006.  |  Read the article (free full text)

As this was a small pilot study, Dr. Broide says, further large-scale studies are needed to determine the effectiveness and safety of this approach.

Inspired to find better treatments for asthma sufferers

Dr. Broide is originally from South Africa, where he received his M.D. from the University of Cape Town and completed his internship at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town.

During his internal medicine residency training at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, he became inspired to work in the field of asthma and immunology. From asthma and allergy specialists he learned of the hope that could be offered to the majority of asthma sufferers, and of the need to develop better treatments for those who have severe disease.

Dr. Broide came to UC San Diego for his Allergy and Immunology fellowship training in 1984. He joined the faculty in 1987.

He has received many academic and scientific honors. He has been named one of the Best Doctors in America each year since 1998.  From 2000 to 2005, he was on the Board of Directors of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology. He is currently Associate Editor of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Dr. Broide directs an NIH training grant that supports physician-scientists in translational research in allergy and immunology

Dr. Broide is principal investigator of several NIH grants, including a MERIT award that provides research support for up to 10 years to NIH-funded researchers whose research is highly meritorious.

He is also principal investigator of an NIH-sponsored Asthma and Allergic Disease Center at UC San Diego. The center focuses on improving our understanding and therapy of airway remodeling in asthma.

Dr. Broide also directs an NIH T32 training grant that supports physician-scientists in translational research in allergy and immunology. Translational research is a high priority in the UC San Diego Department of Medicine.

Physician-scientists supported by this NIH training grant include Allergy/Immunology fellows Dr. Taylor Doherty and Dr. Chavi Gandhi, who are recent UC San Diego Internal Medicine chief residents.

“Physician-scientists are able to bring an important clinical perspective into their basic research studies,” Dr. Broide says.

The aim is to design laboratory studies in a way that leads to better diagnosis and treatment as quickly and safely as possible.

“In particular, we’re trying to help the 10% of severe asthmatics that don’t do that well on current asthma therapies,” Dr. Broide says. “That’s the challenge.”

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