New UC San Diego Center Will Focus on Heart Health Among Latinas

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have launched a new four-year, $3.7 million multidisciplinary research center to investigate the relationship between sedentary behavior and cardiovascular risk factors in Latinas, who have a disproportionately higher chance of developing heart disease than the general population.

The study is part of a new Strategically Focused Research Network created and funded by the American Heart Association (AHA). … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dorothy Sears, PhD

Dorothy Sears, PhD

Within the multidisciplinary research center, Dorothy Sears, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism, will conduct studies to find and characterize biomarkers of cardiovascular disease risk associated with sedentary behavior.

Predictive Proteins: Elevated Levels Trigger Metastatic Progression of Cancer Cells

New biomarker may offer more precise and accurate prognoses of disease —

Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center, with colleagues in Spain and Germany, have unraveled how elevated levels of particular proteins in cancer cells trigger hyperactivity in other proteins, fueling the growth and spread of a variety of cancers. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Pradipta GhoshDr. Pradipta Ghosh is senior author of the study report, which appears in the February 26 online publication of Scientific Reports.

Pradipta Ghosh, MD, is Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology.

Read Study Report (Full Text; Open Access)

UC San Diego Launches New Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research Center

Roughly one-quarter of all Americans – an estimated 100 million adults and children – have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a chronic condition that can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver failure. Combining a diverse array of basic science, biomarkers, imaging and clinical efforts, University of California, San Diego School of Medicine has launched a new NAFLD Research Center to better understand the disease and develop treatments where none currently exist.

“We already have a lot of depth and breadth in the study and treatment of NAFLD and associated conditions at UC San Diego,” said Rohit Loomba, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology and director of the new center. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Rohit Loomba, MDNAFLD Research Center director Rohit Loomba, MD, MHSc, is Professor of Clinical Medicine and Associate Director of Clinical Research in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

He is a clinical and translational physician-scientist who focuses his work on chronic liver diseases with particular attention to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). He is an internationally recognized expert in translational research and innovative clinical trial design in NAFLD and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and hepatic fibrosis.

He directs the NAFLD Clinic at UC San Diego Medical Center.

Dr. Loomba became a member of the Division of Gastroenterology faculty in 2009, when he graduated from the UC San Diego Gastroenterology Fellowship Program. He received his clinical and research training in advanced hepatology at the National Institutes of Health.

He holds an adjunct faculty appointment in the UC San Diego Division of Epidemiology, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at UC San Diego.

Spotting the Earliest Signs of Type 1 Diabetic Kidney Disease

JDRF network grant to fund study to find new types of diagnostic markers —

In an effort to pinpoint the earliest signs of diabetic kidney disease, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine are leading a multi-institutional international effort dedicated to finding a new breed of disease indicators.

The study, funded by a $2.5 million JDRF (formerly known as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) grant, will tap the potential of three emerging “omics” sciences to discover new ways to determine which patients are most likely to develop diabetic kidney disease. Samples from more than 2,000 type 1 diabetes patients, collected over a period of years by several medical centers around the world, will be used in the analyses. …Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Kumar Sharma, MD, FAHAPrincipal investigator of the study is Kumar Sharma, MD, FAHA, Professor of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology. He directs the Center for Renal Translational Medicine and the Institute of Metabolomic Medicine in UC San Diego School of Medicine.

New Biomarkers Might Help Personalize Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Treatment

Low levels of two genes predicts positive response to chemotherapy and longer survival times —

Metastatic colorectal cancer patients tend to live longer when they respond to the first line of chemotherapy their doctors recommend. To better predict how patients will respond to chemotherapy drugs before they begin treatment, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine conducted a proof-of-principle study with a small group of metastatic colorectal cancer patients. The results, published June 17 in PLOS ONE, revealed two genes that could help physicians make more informed treatment decisions for patients with this disease. …Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Paul Fanta, MD, MS

Paul Fanta, MD, MS

Senior author of the study is Department of Medicine oncologist Paul Fanta, MD, MS, Health Sciences associate clinical professor in the Division of Hematology-Oncology. Dr. Fanta is a researcher in the Solid Tumor Therapeutics Program at the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center.

Read the article in PLOS ONE (Open Access)

$5.6 Million Grant Renewal Expands Research in Kidney Failure

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDKD) – part of the National Institutes of Health – has renewed a grant shared by the University of California, San Diego and the University of Alabama at Birmingham Schools of Medicine. The five-year, $5.64 million renewal will extend and expand research into acute kidney failure, or acute kidney injury, which kills 70 to 80 percent of patients in intensive care units who develop the disease.Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Dr. Ravindra MehtaRavindra L. Mehta, MD, FACP, UC San Diego professor of clinical medicine and vice chair for clinical research in the Department of Medicine, is associate director of the UC San Diego – University of Alabama at Birmingham O’Brien Center for Acute Kidney Injury Research.

He directs the O’Brien Center’s clinical studies core with co-director Daniel O’Connor, MD. O’Connor is professor of medicine and pharmacology and co-director, UCSD Center for Human Genetics and Genomics.

UC San Diego nephrology faculty members Roland Blantz, MD, and Volker Vallon, MD, are co-directors of the pre-clinical studies core of the O’Brien Center. Blantz is distinguished professor of medicine emeritus and former chief of the Division of Nephrology-Hypertension; Vallon is professor of medicine and pharmacology.

UC San Diego nephrologist Satish RamachandraRao, PhD, assistant professor of medicine, is a co-director of the Bioanalytical Resource Core.

Ravindra L. Mehta is Director of Dialysis Programs and Clinical Nephrology for UC San Diego Health System. In the UC San Diego School of Medicine, Mehta directs the Clinical Research Enhancement through Supplemental Training (CREST) and Master’s Degree in Clinical Research programs.

In 2011, Mehta received the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) Shire Bywaters Award for his lifetime achievements in acute kidney injury.

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