Professor Shu Chien Receives Prestigious Franklin Institute Award

November 16, 2015

Philadelphia, Nov. 12, 2015 – Shu Chien, founding chair of the Department of Bioengineering at the University of California, where is he currently a professor and director of the Institute of Engineering in Medicine, has received the prestigious Franklin Institute Award.

The award is conferred by the Philadelphia-based Franklin Institute. It has gone in previous years to an extraordinary list of great men and women who have significantly improved our world with their pioneering innovations, including Thomas Edison, Marie Curie, Stephen Hawking, Jacques Cousteau, and more recently Jane Goodall, Dean Kamen and Bill Gates. … Read the full press release from the Jacobs School of Engineering


Shu Chien, MD, PhD

Shu Chien, MD, PhD. Photo courtesy of Jacobs School of Engineering/UC San Diego.

In addition to his leadership roles in the Department of Bioengineering and the Institute of Engineering in MedicineShu Chien, MD, PhD, is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Physiology.

In a recent major development in his scientific explorations, Dr. Chien is one of four principal investigators in the organizational hub of the $30 million 4D Nucleome Research Centers and Organizational Hub grant the National Institutes of Health awarded to UC San Diego in October.

The goal of the project is to determine how DNA is arranged within the cell’s nucleus in four dimensions (three-dimensional space plus time) and how changes in that nuclear organization affect human health and disease.

More information about Dr. Chien and his work:

Dr. Helen King and Dr. Philipp Wiesner Present Mentored Research Study Results at Grand Rounds

Dr. Helen King

Dr. Helen King.

Dr. Philipp Wiesner

Dr. Philipp Wiesner.

Helen King, MD, and Philipp Wiesner, MD, junior residents in the categorical track of the UCSD Internal Medicine Residency Program, presented results of their elective mentored research projects at Medicine Grand Rounds on May 15.

The Internal Medicine Residency Training program offers trainees two months of elective time during their second or third year to undertake a research project under the guidance of a faculty mentor.

Dr. Helen King

Helen King, MD, Mercer University

King’s research project was “HIV Preexposure Prophylaxis: Barriers to Access for Men Who Have Sex With Men.” |  Watch the video (UCSD only)

“I have been interested in HIV medicine for some time now,” King said, “and since being a resident at UCSD have had the opportunity to have more exposure.

“I went to Dr. Davey Smith knowing that he might have some interesting projects, and he helped me get involved with the PrEPARE Study.”

Davey Smith, MD, MAS

Davey M. Smith, MD, MAS

Smith (at right), a translational research virologist, directs the Translational Virology Core of the UC San Diego Center for AIDS Research and is medical director of the Antiviral Research Center’s Early Intervention Program.

He is associate professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases.

The PrEPARE study evaluates preexposure prophylaxis for HIV in men who have sex with men, an approach in which an HIV-negative individual who is at high risk for HIV infection takes a daily HIV medication to lower his risk of infection.

“It has been proven effective in high-risk men who have sex with men,” King said. “Our study was aimed at identifying real-life barriers to accessing the medication, such as cost.”

The study pinpointed several barriers including cost and concern about side effects.

Of her research experience, King said, “I was lucky enough to work on a project that was interesting to me and to work with a great mentor.”

Dr. Philipp Wiesner

Philipp Wiesner
MD, Universität Regensburg

Philipp Wiesner presented the project “Oxidized Phospholipids in Inflammation and Atherosclerosis.” |  Watch the video (UCSD only)

“I started to work in the field of atherosclerosis in medical school,” Wiesner said. “I spent 2 years as a postdoctoral fellow and continued to work in this area during residency.

“My topic was a perfect fit, as I could continue to work in the same area in which I already had experience as well as continue to work with my previous mentors.”

Dr. Joseph Witztum

Joseph Witztum, MD

Wiesner’s primary mentor is Joseph Witztum, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism. Witztum leads the renowned atherosclerosis research laboratory that was established at UCSD by Dr. Daniel Steinberg.

Steinberg, emeritus professor of medicine and pioneering lipid researcher, was the founding head of the Division of Metabolic Diseases.

Dr. Yury Miller

Yury Miller, MD, PhD

Wiesner’s other mentors are lab members Yury Miller, MD, PhD, and Sotirios “Sam” Tsimikas, MD. Miller is associate professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism and Tsimikas is professor of clinical medicine and director of vascular medicine in the Division of Cardiology.

Dr. Sotirios "Sam" Tsimikas

Sotirios “Sam” Tsimikas, MD

Some of Wiesner’s research work, not included in his Grand Rounds presentation, recently has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Lipid Research.

Said Wiesner, “I am really glad our program gives us the opportunity to take two months off to do research. Residency is busy as it is and without this, many residents would not have the chance to get exposed to clinical or laboratory based research.”

Wiesner said it has always been his plan to have a career as an academic physician-scientist.

Presenting Grand Rounds on May 15: Dr. Helen King and Dr. Philipp Wiesner

Dr. Helen King

Dr. Helen King
MD, Mercer University

Dr. Philipp Wiesner

Dr. Philipp Wiesner
MD, Universität Regensburg

Helen King, MD, and Philipp Wiesner, MD, junior residents in the categorical track of the UCSD Internal Medicine Residency Program, will present results of their elective mentored research projects at Medicine Grand Rounds on May 15.

King’s research project is “HIV Preexposure Prophylaxis: Barriers to Access for Men Who Have Sex With Men.”  Philipp Wiesner will present the project “Oxidized Phospholipids in Inflammation and Atherosclerosis.”

The Internal Medicine Residency Training program offers trainees two months of elective time during their second or third year to undertake a research project under the guidance of a faculty mentor.

New Way of Fighting High Cholesterol Upends Assumptions

Atherosclerosis – the hardening of arteries that is a primary cause of cardiovascular disease and death – has long been presumed to be the fateful consequence of complicated interactions between overabundant cholesterol and resulting inflammation in the heart and blood vessels. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Christopher K. GlassSenior author of the study report is Christopher K. Glass, MD, PhD, pictured at left, professor in the Departments of Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Medicine.

The other Department of Medicine coauthors on the study report are Andrew C. Li, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism; Sotirios Tsimikas, MD, FACC, professor of clinical medicine in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine; and Oswald Quehenberger, PhD, professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Read the report of the study in Cell (full text UCSD only)

Citation of study report: Spann NJ, Garmire LX, McDonald JG, Myers DS, Milne SB, Shibata N, Reichart D, Fox JN, Shaked I, Heudobler D, Raetz CRH, Wang EW, Kelly SL, Sullards MC, Murphy RC, Merrill AH Jr, Brown HA, Dennis EA, Li AC, Ley K, Tsimikas S, Fahy E, Subramaniam S, Quehenberger O, Russell DW, Glass CK. Regulated accumulation of desmosterol integrates macrophage lipid metabolism and inflammatory responses. Cell 151(1):138-152, 2012. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2012.06.054

Testing Antioxidant Drugs is Transparent

A study using genetically modified zebrafish to visualize early events involved in development of human atherosclerosis describes an efficient model – one that the researchers say offers many applications for testing the potential effectiveness of new antioxidant and dietary therapies. …Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom

Laboratory test tubes

Leader of the research team is Yury Miller, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism. His Department of Medicine coauthors include Joseph L. Witztum, MD, professor in the same division; and Sotirios “Sam” Tsimikas, MD, FACC, professor in the Division of Cardiology.   |   Read the article online in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Immune Mechanism Blocks Inflammation Generated by Oxidative Stress

Potential therapeutic target for treating disorders like age-related macular degeneration

Conditions like atherosclerosis and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) – the most common cause of blindness among the elderly in western societies – are strongly linked to increased oxidative stress, the process in which proteins, lipids and DNA damaged by oxygen free radicals and related cellular waste accumulate, prompting an inflammatory response from the body’s innate immune system that results in chronic disease.

In the October 6, 2011 issue of Nature, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, as part of an international collaborative effort, identify a key protein… Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Senior investigator Christoph J. Binder, MD, PhD, and coworkers report the results in the October 6, 2011, issue of Nature. Read the full text of the report

Dr. Binder is assistant professor of medicine at UC San Diego, principal investigator at the Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and professor at the Medical University of Vienna.His Department of Medicine co-investigators are Joseph L. Witztum, MD, professor of medicine, and Karsten Hartvigsen, PhD, in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism and Sotirios Tsimikas, MD, professor of medicine and director of Vascular Medicine in the Division of Cardiology.

To Prevent Heart Disease, Treat High Cholesterol Early in life, Dr. Daniel Steinberg and colleagues say

Early childhood is the time to start lowering cholesterol to prevent heart disease, according to Dr. Daniel Steinberg and colleagues at UCSD.

Daniel Steinberg, M.D., Ph.D., is Emeritus Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism. He is renowned for his groundbreaking research in cholesterol and atherosclerosis.

Read the full story from UC San Diego
Health Sciences Communications

His colleagues and co-authors, Christopher K. Glass, M.D., Ph.D., and Joseph Witztum, M.D., are both professors of medicine. All three researchers are members of the Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Their analysis and recommendations are published in the August 5 issue of the journal Circulation.

Citation for the article:  Steinberg, Daniel MD, PhD; Glass, Christopher K. MD, PhD; Witztum, Joseph L. MD. Evidence Mandating Earlier and More Aggressive Treatment of Hypercholesterolemia. Circulation 2008 August 5;118(6):172-177. – |  Read the article (PDF)

More Information: