Two Research Award-Winning Medical Residents to Present Grand Rounds This Week

Drs. Trisha Sharma and Ahnika Kline, two internal medicine residents who won research awards for their posters at this year’s UC San Diego Internal Medicine Residency Program Research Symposium, will present their work at Medicine Grand Rounds on June 1.

Trisha Sharma, MD

R2 Trisha Sharma, MD, left, will present on “Gastrointestinal Manifestations of Common Variable Immunodeficiency Disorder.”

Ahnika Kline, MD, PhDDr. Sharma received her MD degree from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

R3 Ahnika Kline, MD, PhD, right, will present “Quality Improvement in Internal Medicine: A Test Case of Hepatitis C.” In 2016-2017, Dr. Kline will be VA Chief Resident in Quality and Safety. She received her MD degree from UC San Francisco.

Resident Research Symposium: 34 Residents Present Work, Six Chosen to Speak at Medicine Grand Rounds

2015 Resident Research Symposium Winners

From left: Drs. Kevin Shah, Noel Lee, Nanu Das, Julie Chen, Michele Pham and Darrin Wong.

The Internal Medicine Residency Program presented its first annual Resident Research Symposium to a full crowd on Thursday, May 7, with presentations from 34 residents who have taken part in the program’s research block in the last two academic years.

“The 2015 UCSD Internal Medicine Resident Research Symposium was an incredible success,” said program director Simerjot Jassal, MD. “It was a terrific opportunity to showcase the amazing scholarly work our residents have been doing under the outstanding mentorship of our committed faculty,” she said.

Of the 34 residents taking part in the symposium, six were selected to present at Medicine Grand Rounds on June 3 and June 10. Pictured above, they are (from left) Drs. Kevin Shah, Noel Lee, Nanu Das, Julie Chen, Michele Pham and Darrin Wong.

More than 80 residents and faculty members attended.

“I was thrilled with the turnout,” Dr. Jassal said. “The enthusiasm in the room was palpable.”

Dr. Schafer Boeder presenting his research.In the photo at left, Dr. Schafer Boeder discusses his research project.

The Department of Medicine and Helen M. Ranney Distinguished Professor and Chair Wolfgang Dillmann, MD, supported the event. Its purpose is to inspire future projects and create more mentorship opportunities.

“I am so proud of our residents,” Dr. Jassal said.

Dr. Rebecca Sell Receives ATS Young Investigator Award

Dr. Rebecca Sell

Dr. Rebecca Sell

Rebecca Sell, MD, associate director of the Internal Medicine Residency Program and assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, won an American Thoracic Society (ATS) 2014 Young Investigator Award for her presentation at the annual meeting of the Asian Pacific Society of Respirology (APSR) in Bali, Indonesia, November 13-16, 2014.

Her presentation was titled, “Difference in Outcomes between Senior Physician and Medicine Resident-led Code Blues.”

Dr. Sell was a chief medical resident in the UC San Diego Internal Medicine Residency Training Program in 2006-2007.

Dr. Rebecca Sell receiving award at 2014 APRS meeting.

Dr. Sell receiving the award. Photo by Atul Malhotra, MD.

On the APSR 2014 program faculty was Atul Malhotra, MD, Kenneth M. Moser Professor of Medicine, director of sleep medicine and chief of the UC San Diego Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine.

Dr. Malhotra, who received an ATS Young Investigator award in 2005, will serve as president of the ATS in 2015-2016.

Graduating: The Internal Medicine Residency Program Class of 2014

Graduating class of 2014.

Above: the UC San Diego Internal Medicine Residency Program Class of 2014. |  See where these program graduates are going next

 

Graduating: The Internal Medicine Residency Program Class of 2013

Internal Medicine Residency Program Class of 2013

Above: the UC San Diego Internal Medicine Residency Program Class of 2013. Photo by Stephen Vampola, MD.  |  See where these program graduates are going next

 

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.

Drs. Felipe Nascimento Kazmirczak and Stephen Vampola Present Their Research at Grand Rounds

Drs. Nascimento Kazmirczak and Stephen Vampola

Drs. Nascimento Kazmirczak (left) and Vampola field questions after their presentations.

Felipe Nascimento Kazmirczak, MD, and Stephen Vampola, 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 March 20.

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. David Krummen

The mentor for both residents was UCSD cardiac electrophysiologist Dr. David Krummen, right, who watched from front row center in the auditorium as they made their presentations.

Krummen, a ventricular fibrillation researcher, is associate professor of medicine with UC San Diego Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center and associate director of electrophysiology at the San Diego Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Dr. Stephen Vampola

Vampola’s research project was “Mechanistic Implications of Tissue Rate Gradients in Human Ventricular Fibrillation.” He described the research experience as “fulfilling and formative.”

He said his longstanding goal has been to merge his interest in engineering — he studied electrical engineering as an undergraduate and biomedical engineering in graduate school — with his interest in medicine. He earned his MD degree at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

“Now that I have a clinical background,” he said, “I was eager to participate in research that would allow me to combine my unique skill set. The field of cardiac electrophysiology, which by its very nature is analytical and mathematical, is just that.”

Dr. KazmirczakA career in academic medical research has been Nascimento Kazmirczak’s plan for many years.

He came to the United States from Brazil after he earned his MD degree at Universidade Lut Brasil because he was seeking the high-level academic investigators and research opportunities found at major American institutions such as the Mayo Clinic, Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard or UC San Diego.

The project he presented at Grand Rounds was “Identification of Human VF Mechanism Using Surface ECG.”

As he designed his elective research rotation this year, Nascimento Kazmirczak’s interest in cardiology and his strong interest in cardiac electrophysiology led him to Drs. Krummen and Sanjiv M. Narayan and into the ventricular fibrillation research group.

Narayan, professor of medicine in cardiology, is director of electrophysiology at the VA San Diego Healthcare System.

“It was very interesting, and challenging too,” Nascimento Kazmirczak said. “A lot is not known about the mechanism of ventricular fibrillation. If you identify the mechanism, you can prevent it.”

Drs. Felipe Nascimento Kazmirczak and Wolfgang Dillmann.

Dr. Wolfgang Dillmann, Helen M. Ranney Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Medicine, comments on Dr. Felipe Nascimento Kazmirczak’s presentation.

Nascimento Kazmirczak and the other researchers devised a way to induce and study VF in humans rather than in explanted hearts or animal models. Theirs is one of the largest human VF studies now in existence.

Vampola described David Krummen as an outstanding mentor. Nascimento Kazmirczak said, “He dedicated a huge amount of time to helping us.”

Krummen also worked with the two residents to prepare and fine-tune their Grand Rounds presentations in technical detail and in overall clarity.

“This has been a very fulfilling experience,” Vampola said. “One of the unique features of being a physician is the ability to have a highly multifaceted career. I would strongly recommend that anyone with the opportunity to do so, at some point in their career, participate in research in a field that interests them.

“As a resident with access to the vast pool of research efforts at UCSD, it is hard for me to imagine a better place to do this.”

Asked whether he envisions a career as an academic physician-scientist, Vampola says it has been an evolving question for him. His mentored research experience has nudged him toward the affirmative.

“Having identified a field of research that suits my talents and interests well, I find it fulfilling and addictive,” he said. “Looking at my current trajectory and extrapolating to the future, I can definitely envision myself as a physician-scientist with a strong bent towards research.”

Dr. Philip Lederer Receives the 2011 Lee Rickman Humanism in Medicine Award

Dr. Philip LedererPhilip Lederer, MD, senior resident in the UC San Diego Internal Medicine Residency Program, received the 2011 Lee Rickman Humanism in Medicine award at Medicine Grand Rounds on June 8.

The award is given each year to the resident who most embodies the energy and devotion of Lee Rickman, MD, a UC San Diego residency program graduate and Department of Medicine faculty member who practiced infectious disease medicine with singular passion until his death in 2003.

“Phil has that same passion,” said Elaine Muchmore, MD, residency program director, in presenting the award. “It’s with pride and enthusiasm that I introduce him as this year’s Rickman award winner.”

When Dr. Lederer graduates from the program later this month, he will join the faculty as Health Sciences Assistant Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Director of the UC San Diego Department of Medicine’s Maputo Central Hospital Educational Collaboration.

Living in Maputo, Mozambique, he will be the on-site UC San Diego faculty attending for residents on global medicine elective rotation.

He will play a major role in the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI), which unites UC San Diego and the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) in an effort to build sustainable, local capacity for educating doctors in Mozambique and southeast Africa.

In accepting the Rickman award, Dr. Lederer reflected on the 30th anniversary of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Thirty-five million people have died of AIDS, he said, and 75 million have been infected since the epidemic began, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa.

Africa carries 24% of the world’s disease burden but has only 3% of the world’s trained medical professionals, he said.

As clinical director in Mozambique, he will direct both UC San Diego and UEM residents in their training. He will also play myriad roles in the process of strengthening the UEM training program and developing research collaborations on topics of greatest concern to Mozambique.

He concluded his remarks by introducing Drs. Clotilde Nhatave Paiva and Ermenia Miguel Muthambe, internal medicine residents from the UEM training program in Maputo who are currently on rotation here at UC San Diego.

“They are the future,” Dr. Lederer said.

About Dr. Lederer

Dr. Lederer received his MD degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He has sought out opportunities for service in health and social justice since 2003, when he served as a full-time diabetes educator in a community health center after he graduated from Brown University.

In 2005, he co-founded the Guatemala Health Initiative to bring together University of Pennsylvania students and Guatemalan communities in efforts to improve public health, focusing on the Tz’utujil Maya town of Santiago Atitlán.

During his residency, Dr. Lederer has completed both the global medicine rotation in Mozambique and the Global Health in Local Populations rotation in San Diego.

He is currently conducting research studies in HPV and conjunctival cancer, rapid diagnostics for tuberculosis, and bacteremia in Mozambique.
About Dr. Rickman

Leland Rickman, MD, was a UC San Diego infectious disease specialist who graduated from the Internal Medicine Residency Program here in 1983. He completed his fellowship training in infectious diseases at the Naval Medical Center San Diego and served in naval hospitals until he returned to UC San Diego to join the Department of Medicine faculty in 1990.

Dr. Muchmore met Dr. Rickman at that time.

“I was struck by his passion for teaching and for clinical care and his meticulous attention to details,” she said. “He was a font of knowledge.”

Dr. Rickman was appointed Hospital Epidemiologist and Medical Director of the Epidemiology Unit in 1993.

“He dedicated himself to being the infection control physician for the hospital,” Dr. Muchmore said. “He bird-dogged things in a way that was truly awe inspiring.”

He received more UC San Diego teaching awards than anyone in the Department of Medicine, Dr. Muchmore said. The San Diego County Medical Society’s Physician Citizen of the Year award in 2003 was one of many acknowledgments of his service to the community.

Dr. Rickman died in June 2003 while traveling in Lesotho, Africa, to train local medical personnel in AIDS treatment and prevention. In that effort, he was working with Dr. Wm. Christopher Mathews, UC San Diego Professor of Clinical Medicine and Director of the Owen Clinic.

“His loss was not only to those of us at UCSD but to the world,” said Dr. Kenneth Kaushansky, Helen M. Ranney Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine at the time.

Dr. Kaushansky and the residency program faculty established the Rickman award in his honor in 2003.