Division of Regenerative Medicine Holds First Research Symposium

Catriona H. M. Jamieson, MD, PhD

Dr. Catriona Jamieson

On Friday, January 30, the Division of Regenerative Medicine presented its inaugural symposium on novel research and technologies in regenerative medicine.

The meeting featured scientific presentations by world-renowned academic investigators and industry leaders as well as a discussion panel including keynote speakers Dr. Hans Clevers, Dr. Derrick Rossi, Dr. Carl June and Dr. Wolfgang Dillmann.

Division Chief Catriona Jamieson, MD, PhD, presented the mission and milestones of the new Division of Regenerative Medicine after introductions from UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla; Vice Chancellor Health Sciences and Dean of UC San Diego School of Medicine Dr. David Brenner; and Chief Executive Officer of UC San Diego Health System and Associate Vice Chancellor of UC San Diego Health Sciences Paul Viviano.

UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center

UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center

Catriona Jamieson, MD, PhD, is associate professor in the Division of Hematology-Oncology, deputy director of the Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center, chief of the Division of Regenerative Medicine and director of stem cell research at the Moores Cancer Center.

In Memoriam: Virgil L. Woods, Jr., MD

Virgil L. Woods, Jr., MD
1948 – 2012

Dr. Virgil L. Woods, Jr.Virgil L. Woods, Jr., MD, pioneer in the field of proteomics and beloved teacher and clinician who spent his academic career at UC San Diego, died September 30 after an illness. He was 64 years old.

“We are very saddened at the loss of our colleague and friend,” said Wolfgang Dillmann, MD, Helen M. Ranney Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine.

Dr. Woods was professor of medicine in Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology.

“He was an enthusiastic clinician and teacher, and brought a high level of energy and critical thinking skills to the teaching and clinical programs in rheumatology at UCSD,” said Robert A. Terkeltaub, MD (below), professor of medicine and interim chief of the division.

Robert Terkeltaub, MD“He was very generous in his service roles. He will be greatly missed in our program, on both a personal and professional level. He was truly one of a kind.”

“Virgil Woods was a gifted scientist, an outstanding clinician, a generous colleague, and an enthusiastic teacher,” said Mark H. Ginsberg, MD (below), colleague of Dr. Woods and a fellow rheumatologist.

Dr. Ginsberg is professor of medicine in the divisions of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology and Hematology-Oncology and director of the UCSD Physician-Scientist Training Program.

“Virgil was an active and engaged rheumatologist,” he said.

Dr. Mark Ginsberg“He taught his subspecialty and particularly relished working on the front lines of inpatient medicine as an academic hospitalist. In this role he assumed responsibility for acutely ill patients with a wide spectrum of conditions and was a major resource for young physicians.

“Virgil was always willing to share the clinical work load with his colleagues and was unfailingly generous in making time to teach fellows, residents, and students,” Ginsberg said.

In addition to his teaching activities within the Department of Medicine, Dr. Woods was a faculty member in the UCSD Biomedical Sciences and Bioinformatics and Systems Biology graduate programs.

“He was a fountain of clinical and research wisdom,” Dr. Ginsberg said, “and his untimely death is a loss to the UCSD community.”

Dr. Woods was a highly respected and productive physician-scientist. “Virgil was one of the first to use monoclonal antibodies to examine the functional role of platelet cell surface receptors,” Dr. Ginsberg said.

“In doing so, he raised some of the earliest antibodies that blocked the function of platelet integrins, antibodies that were prototypes for agents in current use in the clinic in a spectrum of diseases including multiple sclerosis and arterial thrombosis.”

In recent years, his research centered upon structural biology applications of an advanced proteomics technology.

“Virgil had a dream to use mapping of amino acids that were protected from chemical modification as a means to assess protein folding and identify sites involved in protein-protein interactions,” said Dr. Ginsberg. “With the advent of modern high-resolution protein mass spectroscopy, it was possible to analyze deuterium exchange of whole proteins as a means to study their higher order structure,” he said.

“Virgil’s singular contribution was to develop methods to proteolytically cleave proteins into peptides under conditions that prevented further deuterium exchange. This enabled him to map the accessibility of individual peptides in a folded protein, a technique called peptide amide hydrogen-deuterium exchange mass spectrometry (DXMS).”

In the following years, Dr. Woods and his colleagues refined the DXMS method, increasing its resolution and applying it in an expanding range of protein studies.

“His techniques have found wide applicability in the study of protein structures in the Structural Genomics Initiative and have been used around the world to assess protein-protein interactions,” Dr. Ginsberg said.

The work resulted in seven patents and earned considerable funding from the National Institutes of Health and other sources. Dr. Woods was the UCSD Technology Transfer Office’s Fall 2012 “Featured Pioneer.”

Dr. Woods directed the DXMS Proteomics Resource at UCSD and was actively collaborating with researchers at UCSD, The Scripps Research Institute, the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, the Salk Institute and other institutions in the United States and abroad.

“Virgil’s scientific achievements spring directly from his vision, dedication, and perseverance,” said Dr. Ginsberg. “He had a true scientific ‘green thumb.’ He could make things work when many others had tried and failed.”

Dr. Woods received his undergraduate training at UC San Francisco (BS, medical sciences) and UCSD (BA, biochemistry) and his MD degree at UC San Francisco. After interning and completing his residency at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, he came to UCSD as a rheumatology fellow in 1979.

He joined the Department of Medicine faculty when he completed his fellowship in 1981, and served UCSD for 31 years.

“Virgil was an outstanding colleague and faculty member by being an exceptional clinician, enthusiastic teacher and highly creative scientist,” said Dr. Dillmann.

Dr. Woods is survived by his wife, Betsy, and three children; his parents; and three brothers.
Profile of Dr. Woods

UCSD Press Releases About His Work

High Rankings for Internal Medicine Subspecialties in “Best Hospitals 2011-2012”

UC San Diego Medical CenterFour internal medicine specialties received top-50 rankings for UC San Diego Health System in the new “Best Hospitals 2011-2012” from U.S.News & World Report:

* Pulmonology (#16)
* Diabetes and Endocrinology (#25)
* Nephrology (#34)
* Cancer (#47)

Four other internal medicine specialties were high performers, scoring in the top 25 percent of those surveyed: cardiology and heart surgery, gastroenterology, geriatrics and rheumatology.

“Year by year, the Department of Medicine increases in clinical strength and breadth, and I am happy to see this strong representation in the rankings,” said Dr. Wolfgang Dillmann, Professor and Interim Chair of the department.

Dr. Wolfgang Dillmann “It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of all our clinicians, from the clinical service chiefs to the house staff, and the administrative structure that supports them.”

U.S. News evaluated the specialties on a number of points, including the availability of advanced patient care technologies and important patient services. All eight of the ranked and high-performing internal medicine specialties had high or perfect scores in those domains.

“This is one of the strengths of an academic medical center,” said Dillmann. “We offer our patients the latest developments, not only in new tools for diagnosis and therapy but also in approaches to care.”

U.S. News included 16 specialties in the rankings. Not included was HIV/AIDS care, which is ranked in a separate survey. In this year’s rankings, released in March, the HIV/AIDS program (Division of Infectious Diseases and Owen Clinic) is eighth in the nation.

U.S. News determines the “Best Hospitals 2011-2012” rankings from objective and subjective factors that vary by specialty. The factors include reputation among specialists, patient survival and safety, and care-related indicators such as nurse staffing and availability of advanced technologies.

More about the methodology >>

UC San Diego Health System also ranked in orthopedics and psychiatry and was high performing in otolaryngology, gynecology, neurology/ neurosurgery, and urology.

Read the UCSD press release >>

With a total of six top-50 specialties and eight high-performing specialties, UC San Diego Health System placed in the top 3 percent of over 4800 hospitals evaluated.

Two medical centers in the University of California system made the U.S. News “Honor Roll,” which lists the hospitals with high scores in at least 6 specialties. Among the 17 hospitals that qualified, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles is #5 and UC San Francisco Medical Center is #7.

Appreciation and a Fond Farewell to Dr. Ken Kaushansky

Kenneth Kaushansky, MD, MACPOn July 19, Dr. Ken Kaushansky officially begins his work as Senior Vice President for Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine at Stony Brook University in New York.

When he announced his departure to the faculty and staff of the UCSD Department of Medicine on June 7, he described his new position as an opportunity to implement, on a larger scale, the successful programs that the Department of Medicine has instituted under his leadership here.

He called his years at UCSD a time of “incredible transition in our faculty, our leaders, our teaching programs, and our clinical impact.”

During Dr. Kaushansky’s tenure as Helen M. Ranney Distinguished Professor and Chair, the Department of Medicine expanded from 253 to over 420 faculty members, added four divisions, and recruited 11 division chiefs. Its annual budget grew from $86 million to nearly $150 million.

Dr. Robert Schooley“Dr. Kaushansky has been an outstanding Chair for this department,” said Dr. Robert “Chip” Schooley, Professor and Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Vice Chair for Academic Affairs in the Department of Medicine.“

During his eight years as Chair, the medical house staff program became one of the most highly regarded programs in the country. New divisions in Hospital Medicine, Biomedical Informatics, Geriatrics, and Global Public Health were developed and research programs thrived throughout the Department,” Dr. Schooley said.

“In response to increasing interest in international medicine among the medical house staff, Dr. Kaushansky launched the Department’s Global Medicine Residency Program in 2009,” he said.“Dr. Kaushansky worked with his counterpart at the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane to establish a model program in international cooperation that has revitalized postgraduate medical training in the Republic of Mozambique.”


Dr. Kaushansky with Drs. Marisa Magaña, Emilia Noormahomed, and Robert Schooley in Mozambique Dr. Kaushansky on a global medicine planning trip to China.Dr. Kaushansky with Drs. Marisa Magaña, Emilia Noormahomed, and Robert Schooley in Mozambique (left); on global medicine program planning trip to China (right).

Since 2002, the Department’s NIH research funding has grown from $60 million to $113.6 million. It has more than twice as many complex multi-investigator program-project grants and career development awards granted to the junior faculty and fellows.

The Department has also boosted its showing in the “America’s Best Hospitals” rankings from U.S.News & World Report. In 2002, two subspecialty clinical programs ranked in the nation’s top 50: respiratory at 9th and cancer at 41st. In the most recent rankings, five subspecialties ranked in the top 50, including one (HIV/AIDS) in the top 10.

Dr. Greg Maynard“Ken was directly responsible for building up the strength of clinical care at UCSD,” said Dr. Greg Maynard (right), Health Sciences Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Hospital Medicine.

“He recruited me here about 7-1/2 years ago, and in that time, the Hospital Medicine program has grown from 4 hospitalists to nearly 30, as just one example of that.”

“Dr Kaushansky nurtured my career here at UCSD,” said Dr. Pradipta Ghosh (below left), physician-scientist and Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology.

Dr. Pradipta Ghosh“As a product of the Physician-Scientist Training Program,” she said, “I am one of those few who enjoyed special access to this busy department chair. His doors were always open. I recall having multiple consultations with him at various stages of my career as it grew here at UCSD.

“When the time came for me to choose where to spend the first decade of my young career as an independent investigator, it was his support and a match in our visions which tilted my decision in favor of UCSD,” she said.

“His tireless efforts at instilling the physician-scientist culture here in the Department of Medicine, both from top-down and bottom-up, have paved the path for many young folks like me to craft a career for themselves as physician-scientists,” Dr. Ghosh said.

Dr. John Carethers“Ken was the reason why I eventually accepted the GI Chief job at UCSD,” said Dr. John M. Carethers (right), now John G. Searle Professor and Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan.

When Dr. Kaushansky joined the UCSD faculty, Dr. Carethers was an associate professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology. Dr. Carethers became division chief in 2004

“Ken … gave me enough autonomy to help grow the GI Division, gain a GI Center grant, coordinate well with the Cancer Center and other divisions, and allowed me to grow personally,” Dr. Carethers said. “The GI Division flourished under that mantra.

“We went to a clinical service chief structure, developed a new hierarchy for our administrative staff, started a robust web site, grew our fellowship, and survived many challenges over that time because of his support,” he said.

“Ken provided invaluable advice on my career,” Dr. Carethers said. “He was a great sounding board, not pretentious; encouraging, but never overprotective. I think he understood the value of growth and opportunity, something that is hard to come by these days.”

Dr. Patricia FinnDr. Patricia Finn (left), Professor and Chief of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, described Dr. Kaushansky as “a tireless advocate for his faculty.”

“He is accessible 24/7 to offer support and guidance, which is huge to a new faculty member just moving cross country,” she said.

“On a personal note, when I had barely arrived here he was already nominating me for positions and committees to help me advance my career.”

Dr. Kirk Knowlton“His integrity, fairness, and open-mindedness built an environment of trust that allowed the substantial growth of the Department of Medicine during his tenure as Chair,” said Dr. Kirk U. Knowlton (right), Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Cardiology.

“I am struck by how he has been able to hold the respect of so many people with widely disparate interests,” Dr. Knowlton said.

“This included people who were fully engaged in basic science and those who were busy taking excellent care of their patients; medical students and residents and post-graduate research fellows; administrators and faculty; and others over whom he might have had influence or who crossed his path.

“The people he has worked with knew that they could count on him to represent their interests in the context of the institution’s goals in a considered and reasonable manner while at the same time maintaining his vision of the future of the Department of Medicine.”

“He is a rare breed,” Dr. Maynard said. “I guess I’d call him a quadruple threat. An outstanding scientist, a superb clinician, a great educator, and an incredible leader and administrator to boot.

“While he is not really replaceable,” he said, “he has left an enduring legacy that stresses clinical and operational excellence, as well as research contributions.”

Dr. Finn said, “In addition to [his] world-class scientific reputation, Dr. Kaushansky is most respected for his character and vision.”

“He makes his department and faculty a priority, while striving to always do the right thing for the patients,” she said. “He will be most remembered for his infectious enthusiasm, upbeat attitude, and steady, insightful guidance of students and faculty.”

“He leaves an 8-year legacy that advanced the Department of Medicine in many ways,” said Dr. Carethers, “including growing faculty, changing the way residents learn, obtaining key recruitments for division chiefs and faculty, enhancing VA relations, and being an all out cheerleader for the Department.”

On June 21, Dr. Kaushansky was honored at a farewell reception hosted by David Brenner, M.D., Dean of the UCSD School of Medicine and Vice Chancellor, Health Sciences. In his remarks there, Dr. Kaushansky expressed his appreciation for “eight and a half years of good friends, challenges, and teamwork.”

Observing that he had been involved in recruiting many of the faculty members in the room, he said, “Everything at UCSD works toward recruiting great people.”

“It’s easy, at UCSD, to build things and to make a difference,” he said. “Everybody makes everyone else stronger.”

Dr. Kaushansky praised UCSD’s “incredible richness” of people, science, teaching, and clinical programs. “I’ve never seen more devotion to the three missions,” he said.

And now he looks ahead.

“In academic medicine, you get to re-craft yourself every ten years,” he said. “I’m looking forward to my newly-found steep learning curve.”

Dr. Kaushansky was honored at a tribute from the senior leaders of the Department of Medicine on July 11. There will be a tribute from all departmental staff, faculty, and house staff on a date to be selected.

“Although one could cite metric after metric by which his unceasing efforts strengthened the Department,” said Dr. Schooley, “what many of us think distinguished his tenure most was the way in which his ‘bottom up’ style of leadership brought out the best in all of us.

“The Department will benefit for many years to come from things he set in motion – as will each of its members from what we learned from his multifaceted demonstration of scholarship, integrity, imagination and dedication to his Department.”


Drs. Ken Kaushansky and Wolfgang Dillmann   Drs. Ken Kaushansky and Wolfgang DillmannDr. Kaushansky with newly designated Interim Chair Wolfgang Dillmann, M.D.