New Division Chief and Vice Chief of Endocrinology and Metabolism

Announced July 28, 2014, by Wolfgang H. Dillmann, MD, Helen M. Ranney Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine

Dr. Nicholas Webster

Nicholas Webster, PhD

I am pleased to announce that an internal review committee has selected Dr. Nick Webster as the new chief of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism in the Department of Medicine. Dr. Nai-Wen Chi has been selected to serve as vice chief.

Wolfgang H. Dillmann, MD

Wolfgang H. Dillmann, MD

I would like to express my gratitude to Dr. Nick Webster, who accepted the role of interim division chief after I stepped down in 2010. In leading the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism for the past four years, Dr. Webster has done an important service for the division and the department.

Nick Webster, PhD, professor of medicine, is Associate Director for Shared Resources at the Moores Cancer Center and holds a joint appointment as a Senior Research Career Scientist at the VA San Diego Healthcare System. He is a highly respected researcher and thought leader in the field of endocrinology and metabolism.

Dr. Webster earned his B.A. and M.A. from Cambridge University and his Ph.D. from Stanford University.  After a post-doctoral fellowship at the CNRS in Strasbourg, France, he joined the UCSD faculty in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism in 1989 and was promoted to Professor in 2006.

Dr. Webster has been very active in service to the University and the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System (VASDHS).  He has held a number of leadership positions at UCSD, including Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Facilities in the Office of Research Affairs, where his portfolio included oversight of the animal welfare program and university-wide shared resources.  Dr. Webster has served as chair of a number of university committees, including the Radiation Safety and Surveillance Committee, the Animal Program Oversight Committee, the Recruitment and Admission Committee for the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program, the Shared Resources Oversight Committee, and the Research Space Committees at the VASDHS.

Over the past 25 years, Dr. Webster has maintained an active research program, which is broadly focused on the mechanisms of hormonal signal transduction and gene regulation in different developmental and disease contexts.  He actively participates in the Center for Reproductive Science and Medicine, the Diabetes Research Center, and the Center for Transdisciplinary Research in Energetics and Cancer.

Nai-Wen Chi, MD, PhD

Nai-Wen Chi, MD, PhD

The newly appointed vice chair of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Dr. Nai-Wen Chi, is a researcher and board-certified endocrinologist at the UCSD Medical Center and the VA. Dr. Chi earned his M.D. from National Taiwan University prior to receiving his Ph.D. from Harvard University, where he was mentored by Dr. Richard Kolodner in investigating the molecular machinery that maintains the yeast mitochondrial genome.  Dr. Chi then completed his medical residency and endocrine fellowship at the Massachusetts General Hospital.  During his postdoctoral fellowship at MIT, he was mentored by Dr. Harvey Lodish in identifying novel insulin-signaling molecules that regulate vesicular trafficking.

Dr. Chi joined the UCSD faculty in 2000 and has been the director of the Endocrine Fellowship since 2005.  His clinical interest focuses on dysnatremias while his research program takes biochemical and genetic approaches to investigate the pathophysiology of diabetes and obesity.

Please join me in giving your enthusiastic support to Drs. Nick Webster and Nai-Wen Chi in their new positions of leadership in the Department of Medicine.

Moving Ahead With the Leadership of Interim Chair Wolfgang H. Dillmann, M.D.

Wolfgang Dillmann, MDWolfgang H. Dillmann, MD, a respected division chief and internationally recognized physician-scientist, assumes leadership of the Department of Medicine this week as Dr. Ken Kaushansky departs for his new position as Senior Vice President for Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine at Stony Brook University in New York.

“Wolf has made major contributions to the Department of Medicine for decades, in the realms of science, teaching and clinical care,” said Dr. Kaushansky.

“Now, by taking on the challenging role as interim Chair, he will make even greater contributions to the students, residents, fellows and faculty who call the department home.”

Dr. Dillmann, Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, has served the Department for many years in positions on the Finance Committee and the Space Committee.

Dr. Joe Witztum, Professor of Medicine and Dr Dillmann’s longtime colleague in the division, described him as a dedicated and thoughtful leader, a superb clinician, and a true physician-scientist. “I’m not surprised that he was asked to be Interim Chair,” he said.

Dr. Tom Savides Named Executive Vice Chair

New positions in the Department of Medicine leadership team will support Dr. Dillmann in his interim role. Dr. Tom Savides, Professor of Clinical Medicine and Interim Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology, will serve as Executive Vice Chair.

Dr. Savides also holds the positions of Clinical Service Chief for Gastroenterology, Director of the Gastroenterology Fellowship Program, and Director of Advanced GI Endoscopy.

Dr. Richard Gallo, Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics and Chief of the Division of Dermatology, will serve as Vice Chair for Laboratory Research and co-chair, with Dr. Robert Schooley, of the department’s Space Committee.

Dr. Schooley, Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, will continue as Vice Chair for Academic Affairs.

As before, Drs. Elaine Muchmore, Dan Bouland, Francis Gabbai and Ravi Mehta will serve as the vice chairs for Education, Clinical Operations, VASDHS Affairs, and Clinical Research, respectively. Maureen O’Connor is Vice Chair for Administration.

About Dr. Dillmann

“Wolf is an old-fashioned physician-scientist,” said Dr. Witztum, who joined the faculty within months of Dr. Dillmann in 1979. “In the old days, we used to talk about the ‘triple threat’ – physician, scientist, and teacher. It’s hard to do all three, particularly these days, and Wolf still really does it well.”

In his clinical activities, Dr. Dillmann specializes in endocrine diseases, especially thyroid disease. His research activities are directed at endocrine and metabolic influence on cardiovascular function.

Over the years, he has maintained a deep involvement in clinical work despite the expansion in his other roles. “He’s a superb endocrinologist and internal medicine doctor,” Dr. Witztum said.

“He’s dedicated to providing good clinical services,” he said. “He works very hard to develop clinical programs, particularly for the care of diabetic and metabolic syndrome patients.”

In recent months, Dr. Dillmann has led the division through a successful recertification of the Endocrine Fellowship Training Program. He is an active teacher in the Department of Medicine’s core courses in the School of Medicine and he serves as mentor for postdoctoral fellows and medical students.

Dr. Dillmann’s research focused initially on thyroid disease and its effects on heart function. His work has expanded in recent years to examine the biochemical and cellular properties of heart cells and the ways in which they are affected by thyroid hormone and glucose metabolism.

“He has become an international expert on cardiac metabolism in general,” Dr. Witztum said. “His studies are of interest not only to endocrinologists but also to cardiologists who are interested in the basic mechanisms by which the heart works.”

Dr. Dillmann is a member of the Diabetes and Endocrinology Research Center (DERC), the Institute of Engineering in Medicine, and the Cardiac Mechanics Research Group at UCSD.

He serves as reviewer for a number of major scientific journals including the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Endocrinology, American Journal of Physiology, the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Circulation, and Circulation Research.

View Dr. Dillmann’s list of publications (PubMed)

Dr. Dillmann was born in Germany. After he received his MD degree from the University of Munich in 1970, he came to the United States to do his medical internship at City Hospital Center, Elmhurst, Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City.

He completed his residency training in 1972 and his endocrinology and metabolism fellowship training in 1975 at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York. After a year as Assistant Professor of Medicine there, he moved to the University of Minnesota, where he held the position of Assistant Professor of Medicine from 1976 through 1978.

In 1979, Dr. Dillmann joined the UC San Diego School of Medicine faculty as Assistant Professor in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1981 and to Professor in 1987. In 2005, he became chief of the division.

He is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians.