E-Cigarette Vapor Boosts Superbugs and Dampens Immune System

In lab and mouse experiments, exposure promotes bacterial virulence and inflammation, while blocking the body’s ability to fight infection —

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System report data suggesting that e-cigarettes are toxic to human airway cells, suppress immune defenses and alter inflammation, while at the same time boosting bacterial virulence. The mouse study is published January 25 by the Journal of Molecular Medicine.

“This study shows that e-cigarette vapor is not benign — at high doses it can directly kill lung cells, which is frightening,” said senior author Laura E. Crotty Alexander, MD, … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Laura E. Crotty Alexander, MD

Laura E. Crotty Alexander, MD

Senior author Laura E. Crotty Alexander, MD, is Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine in the Department of Medicine and staff physician at the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System.

The article reporting the findings was published first online on January 25, 2016.  Article abstract  |  Full text of article (UC San Diego Only)

Internal Medicine Resident Drs. Noel Lee, Satya (Nanu) Das and Michele Pham Present Research at Medicine Grand Rounds

Three internal medicine residents who were among six winners at the First Annual Internal Medicine Residency Program Research Symposium on May 7 will present their research at Medicine Grand Rounds June 10:

Noel Lee, MD – The Prevalence of Coronary Artery-Pulmonary Artery Collaterals in Patients with Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension

Satya (Nanu) Das, MD – The Role for Cell Free Circulating DNA in Detecting Secondary EGFR Mutations in Advanced Stage Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Patients

Michele Pham, MD – Decreased BDNF in Aspirin Exacerbated Respiratory Disease

New Cellular Pathway Triggering Allergic Asthma Response Identified

With molecular target found comes possibility of new therapies for millions of Americans —

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, with collaborators in Korea and Scotland, have identified a novel signaling pathway critical to the immune response of cells associated with the initiation of allergic asthma. The discovery, they say, could point the way to new therapies that suppress the inflammatory allergic response, offering potential relief to millions of Americans with the chronic lung condition and potentially other allergic diseases.

The results are published in the January 19 online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. . … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Eyal Raz

Dr. Eyal Raz

Principal investigator of the study is Eyal Raz, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, whose research focuses on the fundamentals of innate immunity.

First author of the report is Jihyung Lee, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the Raz lab.

Coauthors include David H. Broide, MB, ChB, professor of medicine and director of the division’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases-funded T32 training program in molecular and cell biology of allergy; Paul Insel, MD, professor of pharmacology and medicine; Maripat Corr, MD, professor of medicine; project scientist Jongdae Lee, PhD; all in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology; and Nicholas Webster, PhD, professor of medicine and chief of the UC San Diego Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism.

View article abstract

Grant Gives New Breath to Patients Suffering from Severe Pulmonary Hypertension

Nearly $8 million grant helps launch a nationwide patient registry to improve CTEPH practices

Imagine trying to take a deep breath, but feeling like you’re sucking air through a straw. That’s how some patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) describe living with the condition, which is estimated to affect several thousand Americans yearly but is commonly misdiagnosed. UC San Diego Health System is a world leader in CTEPH, and now with a $7.6 million grant, has helped launch the first national CTEPH registry to improve best practices and patient care. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Kim KerrPrincipal Investigator of the project is Kim Kerr, MD, professor of clinical medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. She directs the Medical Intensive Care Unit at UC San Diego Health System’s Thornton Hospital in La Jolla.

Dr. Michael MadaniCardiac surgeon Michael Madani, MD, co-investigator, is chief of cardiothoracic surgery and director of UC San Diego Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center – Surgery.

UC Medical Campus Consortium Named Designated Center to Translate Innovations into Improved Health

A consortium of the five University of California medical campuses at UC San Diego, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA and UC San Francisco has been designated a Center for Accelerated Innovations by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). The designation, among the first of its kind from NHLBI, recognizes the University of California’s potential to translate its leading-edge discoveries into innovative products that benefit patients. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Dr. Gary FiresteinGary S. Firestein, MD, chair of the UC BRAID consortium that will oversee the new UC Center for Accelerated Innovations, is dean and associate vice chancellor of translational medicine at UC San Diego Health Sciences

He led UC San Diego’s successful effort to win a Clinical and Translational Science Award in 2010 and is the founding director of the UC San Diego Clinical and Translational Research Institute.

Firestein is professor of medicine and former chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology at UC San Diego. He served as division chief from 1998 until he stepped down in 2010 to devote full time to his activities as dean of translational medicine.

In 2011, philanthropists Lisa and Steve Altman made a major gift to the planned Clinical and Translational Research building on the La Jolla campus of UC San Diego Health System. Construction started in early 2013 and the building, named the Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute, is scheduled to open in 2016.

UC San Diego Health System Video: The Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute

More Information:

Presenting at Medicine Grand Rounds May 9: Yu Xie, MD

Yu Xie, MDPictured:
Yu Xie, MD, incoming chief medical resident in the Internal Medicine Residency Training Program at UC San Diego, presenting “Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension – Implications for the Left Heart” at Medicine Grand Rounds on May 8.

Watch the video (UCSD only)

Progression of Lung Fibrosis Blocked in Mouse Model

Study points to a phosphorylation pathway that may contribute to the development of lung injury and fibrosis

A study by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine may lead to a way to prevent the progression, or induce the regression, of lung injury that results from use of the anti-cancer chemotherapy drug Bleomycin… Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


The study investigators are Drs. Martina Buck and Mario Chojkier of the Division of Gastroenterology in the Department of Medicine and the Biomedical Sciences Program at UC San Diego and the VA San Diego Healthcare System. Martina Buck, PhD, is associate professor of medicine and Mario Chojkier, MD, is professor of medicine. | Read the report online in PLoS ONE

Glycans Enter Mainstream of Biomedical Science

UC San Diego leads new national program to further develop the science of glycobiology

Scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have received a major 7-year, $18 million grant to begin translating emerging discoveries in the field of glycosciences into new discoveries and therapies related to heart, lung and blood diseases…. Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom

Dr. Ajit Varki

Principal investigator and project leader Ajit Varki, MD, is Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Co-Director of the Glycobiology Research and Training Center, and Co-Director of the UCSD/Salk Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny. | Read the project abstract

Dr. Lyudmila Bazhenova Leads UCSD Clinical Trials of Promising New Lung Cancer Treatment

The Moores UCSD Cancer Center’s clinical trials of a promising new lung cancer treatment are the subject of the UCSD Newsroom story, “New Lung Cancer Drug Shows Dramatic Results for Shrinking Tumors.”

Dr. Lyudmila Bazhenova is principal investigator for the clinical trials underway at UCSD. Lyudmila Bazhenova, M.D., is Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology-Oncology and Medical Director of the Infusion Center at Moores UCSD Cancer Center.

In the Media: Dr. Lyudmila Bazhenova

Dr. Lyudmila Bazhenova is featured in the video story, “KUSI Medical Report: Lung cancer treatment.” Lyudmila A. Bazhenova, M.D., is Health Sciences Assistant Clinical Professor in the Division of Hematology-Oncology.