Active Genetics Goes Global

Tata Trusts & University of California San Diego partner to establish Tata Institute for Active Genetics and Society (TIAGS) —

UC San Diego has received a $70 million commitment from the India-based philanthropic Tata Trusts, which includes the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, the Sir Ratan Tata Trust and the Tata Education and Development Trust, to establish the Tata Institute for Active Genetics and Society (TIAGS), a collaborative partnership between the university and research operations in India. UC San Diego, which will be home to the lead unit of the institute (TIAGS-UC San Diego), will receive $35 million in funding, while the remainder of the committed funds is anticipated to support a complementary research enterprise in India (TIAGS-India). … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Anita Raj, PhD

Anita Raj, PhD

Anita Raj, PhD, Professor of Medicine in the Division of Global Public Health, is one of the UC San Diego researchers who will contribute to the TIAGS.

$52M NIH Grant Advances Clinical and Translational Research at UC San Diego

Federal funding will help further on-going efforts to translate discoveries to clinic —

The Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTRI) at University of California, San Diego has received a five-year Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) for approximately $52 million from the National Center for Advancing Translational Science, part of the National Institutes of Health. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego News Center

At the Nexus of Substance Abuse and HIV

UC San Diego Researcher Wins Major Award to Study New Treatments and Preventions —

Dan Werb, PhD, an internationally noted epidemiologist at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, has been named one of four inaugural recipients of the Avenir Award, a prestigious $1.5 million research grant from the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Sara Browne Awarded $1M Innovation Initiative Grant

$1 Million Grant from Alliance Healthcare Foundation Awarded to UC San Diego

Dr. Sara BrowneThe Alliance Healthcare Foundation has awarded the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine a $1 million Innovation Initiative (i2) Grant to support the work of Dr. Sara Browne, associate professor in the School of Medicine’s Division of Infectious Diseases. The grant is funding groundbreaking research in the use of wireless technologies in the management of personal and public health. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego News Center

Next Generation: Thomas Ohno-Machado Lobbies for Federal Research Funding

One in a Series of Occasional Stories About Faculty Members’ Children

Dr. Lucila Ohno-Machado and Thomas Ohno-Machado with Senator Barbara Boxer Lucila Ohno-Machado, MD, PhD; her son Thomas and California Senator Barbara Boxer.

Recently, to his mother’s wonderment, 17-year-old Thomas Ohno-Machado revealed that he is interested and quite active in politics.

It seemed to happen overnight, his mother said, and without any particular encouragement from his parents. “It doesn’t run in the family,” she mused.

Thomas, a senior at Torrey Pines High School, is the oldest of Dr. Lucila Ohno-Machado’s three sons. Lucila Ohno-Machado, MD, PhD, is associate dean for informatics for the UCSD School of Medicine and professor and chief of the Division of Biomedical Informatics in the Department of Medicine.

Thomas is now the founder and president of the Torrey Pines High School Autism Awareness Club and an advocate for children with disabilities. He and his friends have successfully organized a funding drive and raised money to benefit a local school for children with special needs.

One day out of the blue Thomas asked Dr. Ohno-Machado, “Mom, can we go to Washington, DC?”

It turned out he had written to Senator Barbara Boxer’s office and arranged to visit and express his concerns about federal support for biomedical and behavioral research, particularly for the National Institutes of Health, and for the increasing numbers of children who have special needs.

Dr. Ohno-Machado agreed to go. She arranged for him to add a one-day visit to Washington DC to a trip she had already scheduled. He purchased his first suit, from Macy’s, and carried it on the plane so that it would not wrinkle in flight.

She suggested he prepare for his audience with the senator, and he assured her, “Don’t worry.”

They arrived at Senator Boxer’s office and, with the Archbishop of California and a California judge who had come in with them, waited their turn to speak with one of the senator’s staff members.

The time came. Prepared with statistics to back him up, Thomas Ohno-Machado expressed his concern and asked to know what the senator was going to do about federal medical research funding and the rising numbers of special needs children in the United States.

The senator’s staffer responded by showing Thomas documents detailing how Senator Boxer and another senator are addressing these issues.

Said Dr. Ohno-Machado of the meeting, “I didn’t speak a single word.”

She and Thomas had tried but weren’t able to set up a visit to California Senator Diane Feinstein’s office on the same trip. In a separate solo trip, Thomas visited the governor of Massachusetts and a school for special needs children in the Boston area. Recently, he pressed his causes at the San Diego mayor’s office.

He is headed to UC Santa Cruz this fall. He plans on a political career.

Dr. Ohno-Machado is still marveling at how a strong interest can reveal itself so suddenly in one’s offspring.

“He’s very excited about it,” she said. “He has a bright future.”

Dr. Victoria Ojeda Receives UCGHI Junior Faculty Fellowship Award

Dr. Victoria OjedaVictoria Ojeda, MPH, PhD, public health researcher and assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Global Public Health, has received a Junior Faculty Fellowship Program award for 2013-2014 from the University of California Global Health Institute (UCGHI).

The UCGHI Junior Faculty Fellowship Program, funded by a private donor, supports global health investigators in focused, multidisciplinary projects to develop their skills in investigation, training and leadership.

The award will support Ojeda’s ongoing work with deportees in Tijuana, Baja California, funding her project, “Tijuana Business Attitudes Toward Deportees and the Acceptability of an Employment Opportunities Program.”

Ojeda’s related Tijuana study, “Social incorporation following deportation and implications for health status and access to care,” is supported by a UCGHI GloCal Health Fellowship award she received in 2012. The GloCal Fellowship, a one-year mentored research fellowship, is a program of the National Institutes of Health Fogarty International Center and a UCGHI consortium.

Ojeda focuses her research on substance use, HIV/AIDS infection, and mental health co-morbidities in migrant populations, including injection drug users and female sex workers. Through a number of studies in Tijuana and elsewhere, she is examining how patterns of population movement, including migration and deportation, affect the transmission of HIV/AIDS and other blood-borne infections in the United States-Mexico border region.

Ojeda earned her MPH and PhD in Community Health Sciences at the School of Public Health at UCLA and completed a NIMH Post-doctoral fellowship in Mental Health Policy at the Department of Health Care Policy at the Harvard Medical School.

She is principal investigator of a five-year, NIDA-funded K01 career development project Mexican Female Migration, Substance Use, Sex work, and HIV Risks in Tijuana (Mujer Migrante). She is a research associate of the UCSD Center for Comparative Immigration Studies and a faculty member in the UCSD-SDSU Joint Doctoral Program in Global Public Health.

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Research Funding at UC San Diego Again Surpasses $1 Billion Milestone

The funding total is higher despite the challenging economic situation

Research funding for 2012 at the University of California, San Diego has surpassed $1 billion for the second time in the last three years, the Office of Research Affairs has announced. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom

For the Department of Medicine, the largest department at UC San Diego, the research cost expenditures totaled $130,888,572 in fiscal year 2012.

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:

Roche Funds Drug Discovery Projects at UC San Diego

The new UC San Diego-Roche Extending Innovation Network (EIN) program has been launched with selection of its first three research projects at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. The UC San Diego-Roche EIN program, which was formalized in June 2011, aims to accelerate the discovery of new drug therapies through research innovation at the interface of industry and academia. The program is slated to grow in the coming years as additional rounds of proposals are solicited. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom

M. Geoffrey Rosenfeld, MD
M. Geoffrey Rosenfeld, MD (pictured above), is a co-investigator with Xiang-Dong Fu, PhD, on one of the three UC San Diego-Roche EIN-funded projects, in which the investigators will use genomic and RNA-based approaches to identify new drug targets.

Dr. Rosenfeld is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism and a professor of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Fu is Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and a member of the Institute for Genomic Medicine.

Dr. Kirk Knowlton Appointed Vice Chair for Laboratory Research

Dr. Kirk KnowltonDr. Kirk Knowlton has been appointed Vice Chair for Laboratory Research for the Department of Medicine, Interim Chair Wolfgang Dillmann, MD, has announced.

Knowlton, Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Cardiology, holds the Edith and William Perlman Chair in Clinical Cardiology.

A physician-scientist, he is an esteemed academic leader, clinician, innovator, and mentor. He has been a member of the department faculty since he was a molecular cardiology research fellow at UC San Diego in 1990.

“Kirk’s experience and insight will benefit the department’s research mission greatly, particularly at this time of expansion,” said Dillmann. “With laboratory research playing so large a part in the success of the department, it is crucial to have an outstanding leader.”

Knowlton will direct research activities and space management for Medicine, the largest department in the School of Medicine. In fiscal year 2010-2011, Medicine received $113.6 million in research funding via nearly 380 individual contracts and grants.

The Department of Medicine is consistently one of the top in the nation in federal research funding per faculty member. In research funding from the National Institutes of Health in 2010, the Department ranks eighth in the nation.

The Department occupies 120,000 square feet of laboratory space and anticipates significantly more in the next several years as UC San Diego Health Sciences buildings now in the planning stages are erected.

Knowlton will spearhead the new Department of Medicine Research Council, which will synchronize research efforts within the department and the larger research community, coordinate responses to new funding opportunities, and provide mentorship for junior faculty.

Knowlton will also continue as Chief of the Division of Cardiology, Dillmann said.

Kirk U. Knowlton, MD, FACC, became Cardiology’s division chief in 2004 and assumed the Edith and William Perlman Chair in Clinical Cardiology in 2010.

A general cardiologist, Knowlton plays central clinical roles in diagnostic imaging and noninvasive cardiology and pulmonary thromboendarterectomy in the Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center. In addition, he has a special clinical interest in infectious causes of heart failure such as viral myocarditis.

In his most recent research in molecular cardiology, he is studying mechanisms involved in the formation of intercalated discs to understand the means by which virus infection of the cardiac myocyte can cause dilated cardiomyopathy.

Knowlton is principal investigator of a program project, “Molecular Pathways for Hypertrophy and Cardiomyopathy, and a training grant, “Training in Cardiovascular Physiology and Pharmacology,” both funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Knowlton co-directs the Cardiac Biomedical Science and Engineering Center of the UC San Diego Institute for Engineering in Medicine, a collaborative effort centered on developing new means of understanding, detecting and countering cardiac diseases.

At UC San Diego, in the surrounding community, and at the national level, Knowlton is involved in numerous positions of leadership and service. He is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology, an elected senior member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and Associate Editor of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

He has been recognized as one of the Best Doctors in America each year since 2003.

Active in the American Heart Association, he was recognized as 2010-2011 Western States Affiliate Physician Volunteer of the Year. He was nominated for the UCSD School of Medicine Kaiser Permanente Excellence in Teaching Award for the past two years.