Stuck on Flu

How a sugar-rich mucus barrier traps the virus – and it gets free to infect

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have shown for the first time how influenza A viruses snip through a protective mucus net to both infect respiratory cells and later cut their way out to infect other cells. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego News Center


Dr. Robert T. "Chip" Schooley

Dr. Robert T. Schooley

Project co-investigators from the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Medicine are Robert T. “Chip” Schooley, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the division; associate project scientist Xing-Quan Zhang; and Hui-Wen Chen, now at the School of Veterinary Medicine at National Taiwan University.

Dr. Schooley is academic affairs vice chair for the Department of Medicine.

Citation for the study report in Virology Journal:

Miriam Cohen, Xing-Quan Zhang, Hooman P Senaati, Hui-Wen Chen, Nissi M Varki, Robert T Schooley, Pascal Gagneux. Influenza A penetrates host mucus by cleaving sialic acids with neuraminidase. Virology Journal 2013, 10:321 (22 November 2013) doi:10.1186/1743-422X-10-321.  |  Full text (Open access)

More news from the Division of Infectious Diseases:

 

Progress: the UC San Diego – Universidade Eduardo Mondlane Medical Education Partnership Initiative

In this official video, Dr. Emilia Noormahomed describes the goals and progress of the UC San Diego—Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) program in Mozambique.

Map of Africa showing location of MozambiqueEmilia Noormahomed, MD, PhD, is UEM principal investigator of the MEPI project, which is intended to strengthen Mozambique’s medical education system by building infrastructure to support medical training, research and technology.

Noormahomed is associate professor in the Parasitology Section, Department of Microbiology, at UEM and associate professor of medicine at UC San Diego.

In their partnership, UEM receives the bulk of the grant funding and UC San Diego provides partners and mentors to help UEM meet its goals.  |  More about UC San Diego’s role

The UC San Diego Internal Medicine Residency Training Program offers a global medicine elective in which residents rotate to the UEM’s Maputo Central Hospital in Mozambique for a four-week period.  |  More about the elective

MEPI is a joint initiative of the United States National Institutes of Health and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

More Information:

Internal Medicine Residency Training Program

Medical Education Partnership Initiative

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.

UC San Diego’s Graduate Programs Among Nation’s Best, According to U.S. News & World Report

The 2014 edition of the U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Graduate Schools” guidebook, released today, highly ranks the University of California, San Diego’s professional schools in engineering and medicine, as well as its academic Ph.D. programs in the social sciences and humanities. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


The new rankings and medical education in the Department of Medicine:

In “Best Graduate Schools 2014” from U.S. News & World Report, the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine is ranked #15 in research and #39 in primary care, with the HIV/AIDS specialty program (Division of Infectious Diseases and Owen Clinic) ranked #11.

In the HIV/AIDS specialty, the Department of Medicine offers research and clinical training via the teaching activities of the Division of General Internal Medicine and Division of Infectious Diseases. The two divisions operate a variety of clinical and research entities including the Owen Clinic, the Antiviral Research Center, the AIDS Research Institute and the Center for AIDS Research.

Enzyme Accelerates Malignant Stem Cell Cloning in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

An international team, headed by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, has identified a key enzyme in the reprogramming process that promotes malignant stem cell cloning and the growth of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), a cancer of the blood and marrow that experts say is increasing in prevalence. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Catriona H. M. Jamieson, MD, PhDPrincipal investigator of the study is Catriona H. M. Jamieson, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology-Oncology and director of stem cell research at the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center.

Dr. Jamieson is on the steering committee for the Moores Cancer Center’s My Answer to Cancer initiative for personalized cancer therapy. She is a member of the faculty in the UCSD Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program.

Department of Medicine faculty coauthor Sheldon R. Morris, MD, MPH, an investigator at the UCSD Antiviral Research Center,is health sciences assistant clinical professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases.

Citation for the report in PNAS: Jiang Q, Crews LA, Barrett CL, Chun H-J, Court AC, Isquith JM, Zipeto MA, Goff DJ, Minden M, Sadarangani A, Rusert JM, Dao K-HT, Morris SR, Goldstein LSB, Marra MA, Kelly A. Frazer KA, Jamieson C.H.M. ADAR1 promotes malignant progenitor reprogramming in chronic myeloid leukemia. PNAS 2012; published ahead of print December 28, 2012, doi:10.1073/pnas.1213021110

Read the study report (free full text)

More about Dr. Jamieson and her work:

Drs. Beatrice Golomb, Mia Savoia honored in “Women Who Mean Business” awards

Two Department of Medicine faculty members were among six from UC San Diego Health Sciences who were honored in the 2012 “Women Who Mean Business” awards sponsored by the San Diego Business Journal.

Beatrice Golomb, MD, PhD, is professor of medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine.

Mia Savoia, MD, pictured at left, is dean for Medical Education in the UCSD School of Medicine and professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases.

David A. Brenner, MD, Vice Chancellor, Health Sciences and Dean, School of Medicine, announced the awards to Health Sciences faculty and staff November 9.

Bringing Power of Prevention, Diagnosis to the People

“A Mercedes Benz isn’t designed to function in the Sahara Desert,” notes Dr. Eliah Aronoff-Spencer of the University of California, San Diego. “So why are we designing medical equipment for developing countries the same way we do for developed ones?”

It’s a question researchers at the new Distributed Health Laboratory in the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) at UC San Diego aim to address, and eventually, to render moot. In collaboration with the UC San Diego School of Medicine and the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) in Maputo, Mozambique, Calit2’s DH Lab is designing low-cost medical devices such as microscopes and wireless sensing devices that can be used by virtually anyone anywhere in the world to prevent and even diagnose illness. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Co-directing the Distributed Health Laboratory is Eliah Aronoff-Spencer, MD, PhD, fellow in infectious diseases at UCSD and informatics coordinator for the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) between UC San Diego and Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) in Maputo, Mozambique.

Eliah Aronoff-Spencer, MD, PhD with Dr. Manuel TomasThe photo at left shows Dr. Aronoff-Spencer with UEM physician Dr. Manuel Tomás (at right) on a patient ward at Maputo Central Hospital.

Dr. Aronoff-Spencer is also an organizer of the Biomedical Research Informatics for Global Health Training (BRIGHT) program, an international collaboration devoted to training the next generation of informatics researchers in partner countries.

The BRIGHT program, a Division of Biomedical Informatics project, is funded by grant D43TW007015 from the Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health.

A graduate of the UCSD Internal Medicine Residency Program and Physician-Scientist Training Pathway, Dr. Aronoff-Spencer has completed a fellowship in clinical infectious disease and is now a fellow in research in infectious disease, global health informatics and decision making at UCSD. He is also a staff physician in infectious disease at the VA San Diego Healthcare System.

More information:

UC San Diego Researcher Receives $2.5 million Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse

Davey Smith, MD, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the VA San Diego Health System is one of three recipients of the 2012 Avant-Garde Award for HIV/AIDS research. This prestigious award, announced today by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health, is intended to stimulate high-impact research that may lead to groundbreaking opportunities for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS in drug abusers. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


David M. Smith, MD, MASDavey M. Smith, MD, MAS, is a physician-scientist specializing in the study of HIV transmission. He directs the Translational Virology Core at the Center for AIDS Research and the Early Intervention Program at the Antiviral Research Center at UCSD.Dr. Smith received his internal medicine residency training, including a year as chief medical resident, and his fellowship training in infectious diseases at UCSD. He earned his Masters of Advanced Studies (MAS) degree in clinical research at UCSD as well.

More about Dr. Smith’s work:

More about the award:

UC San Diego Biologists Produce Potential Malarial Vaccine from Algae

Biologists at the University of California, San Diego have succeeded in engineering algae to produce potential candidates for a vaccine that would prevent transmission of the parasite that causes malaria, an achievement that could pave the way for the development of an inexpensive way to protect billions of people from one of the world’s most prevalent and debilitating diseases. Initial proof-of-principle experiments suggest that such a vaccine could prevent malaria transmission…. Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Dr. Joseph VinetzThe research team included Dr. Joseph Vinetz, pictured at left, and Dr. Fengwu Li from the Department of Medicine.Dr. Vinetz is professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases and program director of the Peruvian/Brazilian Amazon Center of Excellence in Malaria Research.

Fengwu Li is an associate project scientist in Dr. Vinetz’s laboratory.

Read the study report in PLoS One (Open access article)

Article citation: Gregory JA, Li F, Tomosada LM, Cox CJ, Topol AB, et al. (2012) Algae-Produced Pfs25 Elicits Antibodies That Inhibit Malaria Transmission. PLoS ONE 7(5): e37179. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0037179