Drs. Joachim Ix, Davey Smith Elected to American Society for Clinical Investigation

Two Department of Medicine physician-scientists have been elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) this year.

Dr. Joachim Ix

Dr. Joachim Ix

Joachim H. Ix, MD, MAS, FASN, a nephrologist and epidemiologist, is professor and chief of the Division of Nephrology-Hypertension. He holds a secondary appointment in the Division of Preventive Medicine, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine.

Dr. Davey Smith

Dr. Davey Smith

Translational research virologist Davey M. Smith, MD, MAS, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, directs the Center for AIDS Research Translational Virology Core and is medical director of the Early Intervention Program at the UC San Diego Antiviral Research Center.

ASCI membership is a distinction that recognizes the nation’s most outstanding physician-scientists.

Dianne McKay Receives CIRM Basic Biology Grant

Eight stem cell scientists at the University of California, San Diego have been awarded a total of $8.165 million to fund research tackling significant, unresolved issues in human stem cell biology. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego News Center


Dianne McKay, MDDianne B. McKay, MD, professor of clinical medicine in the Division of Nephrology-Hypertension, is one of the eight UC San Diego researchers to receive a Basic Biology V Award from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine this week.

McKay is medical director of the Kidney Transplant Program at UC San Diego Health System.

Joachim H. Ix Named Chief of Nephrology-Hypertension

January 2, 2014

Announcement from Wolfgang H. Dillmann, MD
Helen M. Ranney Distinguished Professor and Chair

Dr. Joachim Ix

Dr. Joachim Ix

I am very pleased to announce that Dr. Joachim H. Ix, who has served as interim chief of the Division of Nephrology-Hypertension since Dr. Roland Blantz retired in 2012, has been selected as the new chief of the division. His new appointment was effective December 17, 2013.

Dr. Ix has managed the division with effectiveness and wisdom during his year as interim chief, balancing and advancing its activities during a time that has brought particularly difficult fiscal and managerial challenges to all of us. I am confident that the Division of Nephrology-Hypertension will continue to grow in clinical and academic stature with his leadership.

Joachim H. Ix, MD, MAS, is professor of medicine and professor of family and preventive medicine at UC San Diego. He is active as a clinical specialist in the diagnosis and management of kidney disease patients at both UC San Diego Health System and the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System (VASDHS). He directed the VASDHS chronic kidney disease clinic in 2008-2009 and subsequently the VASDHS Dialysis Unit from 2009-2013.

A creative and productive clinical trialist and epidemiologist, Dr. Ix investigates the contributions of altered calcium and phosphorus homeostasis to cardiovascular disease in patients with kidney disease. He has more than 140 published articles in peer-reviewed journals. His active National Institutes of Health funded studies include a 5-year U01 cooperative project, begun in September of this year, in which he will conduct a phase 2 clinical trial to test the efficacy of nicotinamide (vitamin B3) on phosphorus homeostasis and other components of mineral metabolism in CKD patients. He is also PI of a recently funded R01 award evaluating the contributions of kidney tubule dysfunction and injury to progression of kidney disease and cardiovascular disease, and was recently funded as PI of an American Heart Association Established Investigator Award.

He was elected a fellow of the American Society of Nephrology in 2010 and is associate editor of the American Journal of Kidney Diseases, a standing member of the NIH Study Section on Kidney Nutrition Obesity and Diabetes (KNOD) and a member of the SPRINT Trial Chronic Kidney Disease Advisory Group.

Dr. Ix is a dedicated teacher and mentor and an active contributor to his division’s instructional efforts at all levels, including the nephrology fellowship program and the School of Medicine curriculum. In 2010, he received the Excellence in Teaching Award in recognition for outstanding teaching contributions in the third-year Medicine Core Clerkship course.

Dr. Ix earned his Bachelor of Science degree at UC San Diego and his medical degree at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. He received his specialty training, nephrology fellowship training, and MAS in biostatistics and epidemiology at UC San Francisco. He joined the UC San Diego faculty in 2007.

Enzyme Restores Function with Diabetic Kidney Disease

Mouse findings reverse prevailing theory; point to potential treatment options

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine say that, while a prevailing theory suggests elevated cellular levels of glucose ultimately result in diabetic kidney disease, the truth may, in fact, be quite the opposite. The findings could fundamentally change understanding of how diabetes-related diseases develop – and how they might be better treated. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego News Center


Kumar Sharma, MD, FAHA Kumar Sharma, MD, FAHA, senior author of the study report, is professor of medicine and director of the Center for Renal Translational Medicine in the Division of Nephrology-Hypertension.

Dr. Laura DuganFirst author Laura L. Dugan, MD, at right, is professor of neurosciences and professor and chief of the Division of Geriatrics in the Department of Medicine. She holds the Larry L. Hillblom Chair in Geriatric Medicine.

Second author Young-Hyun You is an associate project scientist in the Division of Nephrology-Hypertension,

Other DOM faculty coauthors are Sameh S. Ali, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Geriatrics, and Robert K. Naviaux, MD, PhD, professor of medicine in the Division of Medical Genetics.

Citation for the study report:

Laura L. Dugan, Young-Hyun You, Sameh S. Ali, Maggie Diamond-Stanic, Satoshi Miyamoto, Anne-Emilie DeCleves, Aleksander Andreyev, Tammy Quach, San Ly, Grigory Shekhtman, William Nguyen, Andre Chepetan, Thuy P. Le, Lin Wang, Ming Xu, Kacie P. Paik, Agnes Fogo, Benoit Viollet, Anne Murphy, Frank Brosius, Robert K. Naviaux and Kumar Sharma. AMPK dysregulation promotes diabetes-related reduction of superoxide and mitochondrial function. J Clin Invest. 2013;123(11):4888–4899. doi:10.1172/JCI66218.  |  Full text (UCSD only)

Related UC San Diego news stories:

Urine Biomarkers Reveal Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Diabetic Kidney Disease

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have identified 13 metabolites – small molecules produced by cellular metabolism – that are significantly different in patients with diabetes and chronic kidney disease compared to healthy controls. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego News Center


Kumar Sharma, MD, FAHA First author Kumar Sharma, MD, FAHA, is professor of medicine and director of the Center for Renal Translational Medicine in the Division of Nephrology-Hypertension.

Citation for the study report:

Metabolomics Reveals Signature of Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Diabetic Kidney Disease. Kumar Sharma, Bethany Karl, Anna V. Mathew, Jon A. Gangoiti, Christina L. Wassel, Rintaro Saito, Minya Pu, Shoba Sharma, Young-Hyun You, Lin Wang, Maggie Diamond-Stanic, Maja T. Lindenmeyer, Carol Forsblom, Wei Wu, Joachim H. Ix, Trey Ideker, Jeffrey B. Kopp, Sanjay K. Nigam, Clemens D. Cohen, Per-Henrik Groop, Bruce A. Barshop, Loki Natarajan, William L. Nyhan, and Robert K. Naviaux JASN ASN.2013020126; published ahead of print October 10, 2013, doi:10.1681/ASN.2013020126  |  Full text (UCSD only)

Related UC San Diego news stories:

Studies Suggest New Key to “Switching Off” Hypertension

A team of University of California, San Diego researchers has designed new compounds that mimic those naturally used by the body to regulate blood pressure. The most promising of them may literally be the key to controlling hypertension, switching off the signaling pathways that lead to the deadly condition. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Senior author of the study report is Daniel T. O’Connor, MD, professor of pharmacology and professor of medicine in the Division of Nephrology-Hypertension. O’Connor directs the UC San Diego Hypertension Research Program and Hypertension Research Group.

Laboratory test tubesOther Department of Medicine coauthors are Sushil K. Mahata, PhD, professor of medicine and pharmacology; and project scientist Nilima Biswas, PhD. Mahata is also a Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System investigator.

Citation for the study report:  Igor F. Tsigelny, Valentina L. Kouznetsova, Nilima Biswas, Sushil K. Mahata, Daniel T. O’Connor, Development of a pharmacophore model for the catecholamine release-inhibitory peptide catestatin: Virtual screening and functional testing identify novel small molecule therapeutics of hypertension, Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, Available online 17 July 2013, ISSN 0968-0896, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bmc.2013.07.008. |  Full text (UCSD only)

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

Dr. Jason Bronner Receives Department of Medicine’s Leadership and Innovation in Patient-Centered Systems Award for 2013

UC San Diego Health System primary care physician Jason P. Bronner, MD, is the winner of the Department of Medicine’s Leadership and Innovation in Patient-Centered Systems Award for 2012-2013.

Drs. Francis Gabbai, Jason Bronner, and Daniel Bouland

Drs. Francis Gabbai, Jason Bronner, and Daniel Bouland.

Each year, the award recognizes the clinical program leader who has achieved particular excellence in service of the patient care mission in internal medicine and its subspecialties.

Dr. Jason Bronner

Dr. Jason Bronner

Bronner was chosen the winner this year for his exceptional dedication to the direction and practice of five-star clinical service, said Dr. Daniel Bouland, head of the Clinical Services Committee.

Bouland is vice chair for clinical operations in the Department of Medicine and Health Sciences clinical professor in the Division of Hospital Medicine.

“Dr. Bronner has focused his considerable talents and energy on fostering a patient-centered culture while emphasizing our core values of quality and excellence,” he said.

Bronner, Health Sciences associate clinical professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine, joined the UC San Diego Health System in 2005. He sees patients at the Internal Medicine Group clinic in La Jolla.

Bronner has been named on the “San Diego’s Top Doctors” list every year since 2009.

In the photo above, Bronner is shown with Bouland (right) and Dr. Francis Gabbai (left). Gabbai is executive vice chair and vice chair for VA affairs in the Department of Medicine, chief of the medicine service at the VA San Diego Healthcare System and professor of medicine in the Division of Nephrology-Hypertension.