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.”

2009 Funding Offered in New UCSD K12 Grant Program for Junior Faculty Investigators

Applications are now being accepted for a new, institutionally-funded grant program for junior faculty investigators at UCSD.

Offered through UCSD’s Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTRI), the K12 grants are the institutional equivalent of a National Institutes of Health K23 or K08 mentored career development award.

Applications must be received January 9, 2009, for funding to begin July 1, 2009. All applicants will be notified by March 2, 2009.


Get application form and instructions


Eligible candidates include UCSD instructors or assistant professors in any academic series and fellows or postdocs who are completing their training. Applicants must secure their home departments’ approval before applying.

Each applicant and his/her home department must commit to the applicant’s 75% level of research effort through the project period.

In this first annual competition for the K12 funding, up to two investigators will receive support for up to 3 years from the Dean’s Office and from their home departments. The Dean’s Office and the home department each will grant $50,000 toward salary and benefits.

Funded investigators will be offered early didactic opportunities and in-depth formal and informal research mentoring through the UCSD CREST program.

UCSD’s CTRI K12 Program is directed by Joel E. Dimsdale, M.D., Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry. Dilip Jeste, M.D., Estelle and Edgar Levi Chair in Aging and Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Neurosciences, is Director of the CTRI Education and Community Alliances Division.

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