Dr. Bernd Schnabl and Coworkers Find Another Way Alcohol Damages the Liver

Natural gut antibiotics diminished by alcohol leave mice more prone to bacterial growth in the liver, exacerbating alcohol-induced liver disease —

Alcohol itself can directly damage liver cells. Now researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report evidence that alcohol is also harmful to the liver for a second reason — it allows gut bacteria to migrate to the liver, promoting alcohol-induced liver disease. The study, conducted in mice and in laboratory samples, is published February 10 in Cell Host & Microbe.

“Alcohol appears to impair the body’s ability to keep microbes in check,” said senior author Bernd Schnabl, MD, associate professor of gastroenterology at UC San Diego School of Medicine. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


BBernd Schnabl, MDernd Schnabl, MD, is Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology faculty members Samuel B. Ho, MD, Professor of Medicine; and David A. Brenner, MD, Vice Chancellor, Health Sciences, Dean of UC San Diego School of Medicine and Professor of Medicine are coauthors of the study report.

Read the Article Abstract

Dr. Schnabl’s Laboratory Website

Training the Next Generation of Cancer Scientists

National Cancer Institute training grant has supported UC San Diego scholars since 1984

The University of California, San Diego received a $2.5 million Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to support four predoctoral and six postdoctoral scholars in the campus’s cancer training program. First awarded in 1984, the grant is the single longest-running NCI training grant at UC San Diego. The 2014 grant renewal will provide funding through 2019, when it will have completed 34 years of training for cancer investigators…. Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

More about the UC San Diego NIH/NCI Cancer Training Grant

UC San Diego-Human Longevity Inc. Agreement Seeks to Accelerate Medical Science

Thousands of patient genomes expected to fuel diverse medical research, beginning with cancer

The new collaborative research agreement between Human Longevity Inc. (HLI) and the University of California, San Diego, announced today, represents a significant and necessary step in efforts to research and translate the potential of the human genome into novel and real treatments and therapies able to change and improve the human condition.

“This agreement brings together the resources of two entities that, in combination, may ultimately help improve countless lives,” said David A. Brenner, MD, vice chancellor of health sciences at UC San Diego and dean of the UC San Diego School of Medicine. “HLI aims to bring leading-edge thinking in genomics technologies. UC San Diego boasts some of the world’s finest researchers and physicians working at places like the Moores Cancer Center. Together, we will collaborate to marshal the people, the tools and the resources to really make a difference in human health.” … Read the full story from the UC San Diego News Center

Dr. David Brenner Speaking at Grand Rounds March 13

David A. Brenner, MD Speaking at Medicine Grand Rounds on March 13 is Dr. David A. Brenner, vice chancellor for health sciences, dean of the UCSD School of Medicine and professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology.

A physician-scientist, Brenner is widely respected for his translational research in liver disease. He will speak at Grand Rounds on new approaches to therapy for fibrosis.

Brenner is a member of numerous honorific societies including the American Society of Clinical Investigation, the American College of Physicians and the Association of American Physicians, of which he is immediate Past President. Last year, he was elected to the Institute of Medicine.

UC San Diego press releases about his recent research:

Read Dr. Brenner’s School of Medicine Biography

About Medicine Grand Rounds

UCSD’s Medicine Grand Rounds is held weekly on Wednesday mornings, 7:30 – 8:30 a.m., in the Liebow Auditorium, second floor, Biomedical Sciences Building on the UCSD School of Medicine Campus. There is a hiatus in summer.

To see this year’s schedule and find video viewing information, visit the Medicine Grand Rounds page on the Department of Medicine website.

Dr. Rohit Loomba on Fatty Liver Disease: HHMI Bulletin

Dr. Rohit LoombaDr. Rohit Loomba, a UCSD hepatologist who specializes in fatty liver disease, is interviewed in an article about the disease in the Fall 2012 health bulletin from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

In “The Fat You Can’t See,” Loomba describes the rising incidence of fatty liver disease and points to society’s general increase in dietary sugar intake as a major cause. He emphasizes the importance of identifying individuals who are at highest risk for developing the disease and he predicts there will be a dramatic increase in our understanding of the disease in the next five years.

Rohit Loomba, MD, MHSc, is assistant professor of clinical medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology. He also holds an appointment in the Division of Epidemiology in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine.

Loomba conducts his clinical practice in UC San Diego Health System’s liver disease clinics. In his research laboratory, he conducts a variety of studies of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), including a number of clinical trials.

With a four-year mentored patient-oriented research career development grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), Loomba is investigating the genetic epidemiology of NAFLD in a twin-pair study. In that work, his mentors are UCSD researchers Daniel T. O’Connor, MD, professor of medicine and pharmacology; Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, MD, distinguished professor and chief of the Division of Epidemiology in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine; and David Brenner, MD, Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine.

Loomba serves as the UCSD site principal investigator for the Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis Clinical Research Network (NASH-CRN) studies in adult patients with NAFLD. NASH-CRN, an NIDDK-sponsored research consortium funded via a UO1 research program-cooperative agreement mechanism, aims to improve understanding of the natural history, pathophysiology and management of NAFLD.

In addition, he is the founding director and principal investigator of the San Diego Integrated NAFLD Research Consortium (SINC), which includes four centers: UCSD, Kaiser Permanente Health System, Sharp Health System, and Balboa Naval Medical Center. SINC is a collaborative network that allows community-based patients to participate in NAFLD studies conducted at UCSD.

Loomba has established a major NAFLD research program at UCSD with recently published investigator-initiated treatment studies in NASH (Le et al., Hepatology September 2012) and several in progress.

In various NAFLD translational research studies currently ongoing at UCSD, Loomba collaborates with Drs. Jerrold Olefsky, David Brenner, Claude Sirlin, Bernd Schnabl, Lars Eckmann, Edward Dennis, Ariel Feldstein and Ekihiro Seki.

He also directs the UCSD fellowship training program in liver epidemiology and patient-oriented outcomes research.

More Information:

Two from UCSD School of Medicine Named Members of the Institute of Medicine

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) today announced the names of 70 new members and 10 foreign associates during its 42nd annual meeting.  Included are two new members from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine: David A. Brenner, MD, vice chancellor for Health Sciences and dean of the UCSD School of Medicine, and Don W. Cleveland, PhD, chair of the UCSD Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, and professor of medicine, neurosciences, and cellular and molecular medicine at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Dr. David BrennerA translational researcher, Dr. David Brenner investigates the molecular pathogenesis of fibrotic liver disease and the genetic basis of  liver disorders. He is a member of the Division of Gastroenterology in the Department of Medicine.  |  Read his academic biography

Scarring Cells Revert to Inactive State As Liver Heals

Research with mice reveals possible strategy to reverse fibrosis in liver and other organs

An international team of scientists, led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, report that significant numbers of myofibroblasts – cells that produce the fibrous scarring in chronic liver injury – revert to an inactive phenotype as the liver heals. The discovery in mouse models could ultimately help lead to new human therapies for reversing fibrosis in the liver, and in other organs like the lungs and kidneys…. Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Dr. David A. Brenner
Senior author of the study report is David A. Brenner, MD, vice chancellor for Health Sciences, dean of the UC San Diego School of Medicine and professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology.

Among the coauthors is Wolfgang H. Dillmann, MD, Helen M. Ranney Professor and Chair, Department of Medicine and translational researcher in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism.

New Study Upends Thinking About How Liver Disease Develops

In the latest of a series of related papers, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues in Austria and elsewhere, present a new and more definitive explanation of how fibrotic cells form, multiply and eventually destroy the human liver, resulting in cirrhosis… Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom

Pictured above is David Brenner, MD, Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences and dean of the UC San Diego School of Medicine, who is senior author of the research report.  First author of the study is Dr. Christoph H. Österreicher of the Biomedical Genomics (BIOGEM) Microarray Facility in the UCSD Department of Medicine, the Laboratory of Gene Regulation and Signal Transduction in the UCSD Department of Pharmacology, and the Medical University of Vienna. Other Department of Medicine coauthors are Drs. Melitta Penz-Österreicher (Medical University of Vienna), Roman Šášik, and BIOGEM director Dr. Gary Hardiman.

Read the report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.