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

Big Data Sharing for Better Health

Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have been awarded a $9.2 million grant to help modernize and transform how researchers share, use, find and cite biomedical datasets.

The 3-year project, in collaboration with The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, is part of a federal initiative to increase the utility of biomedical research data, launched this week by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through its Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) program. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Dr. Lucila Ohno-MachadoLucila Ohno-Machado, MD, PhD, is lead investigator on the Biomedical and healthCAre Data Discovery and Indexing Ecosystem (BioCADDIE) project.

Dr. Ohno-Machado, professor of medicine, is founding chief of the Division of Biomedical Informatics.

Read the BioCADDIE project description on the NIH RePORTER

Hannah Carter Receives NIH Early Independence Award

CTRI Helps Launch Career of Bioengineer Hannah Carter

November 22, 2013 – With support from UC San Diego’s Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTRI), bioengineer Hannah Carter, PhD, received the highly prestigious NIH Early Independence Award and recently began began her transition to a junior faculty position at UC San Diego.

Presently she is acquiring a research team and computational resources to delve into her project: Network approaches to identify cancer drivers from high-dimensional tumor data. … Read the full story from CTRI News & Events

Hannah Carter, PhDHannah Carter, PhD, is assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Medical Genetics. Her project is Network Approaches to Identify Cancer Drivers from High-Dimensional Tumor Data.

She is now recruiting postdoctoral fellows for her project, which is funded for five years.

Carter Laboratory website


$5.6 Million Grant Renewal Expands Research in Kidney Failure

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDKD) – part of the National Institutes of Health – has renewed a grant shared by the University of California, San Diego and the University of Alabama at Birmingham Schools of Medicine. The five-year, $5.64 million renewal will extend and expand research into acute kidney failure, or acute kidney injury, which kills 70 to 80 percent of patients in intensive care units who develop the disease.Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom

Dr. Ravindra MehtaRavindra L. Mehta, MD, FACP, UC San Diego professor of clinical medicine and vice chair for clinical research in the Department of Medicine, is associate director of the UC San Diego – University of Alabama at Birmingham O’Brien Center for Acute Kidney Injury Research.

He directs the O’Brien Center’s clinical studies core with co-director Daniel O’Connor, MD. O’Connor is professor of medicine and pharmacology and co-director, UCSD Center for Human Genetics and Genomics.

UC San Diego nephrology faculty members Roland Blantz, MD, and Volker Vallon, MD, are co-directors of the pre-clinical studies core of the O’Brien Center. Blantz is distinguished professor of medicine emeritus and former chief of the Division of Nephrology-Hypertension; Vallon is professor of medicine and pharmacology.

UC San Diego nephrologist Satish RamachandraRao, PhD, assistant professor of medicine, is a co-director of the Bioanalytical Resource Core.

Ravindra L. Mehta is Director of Dialysis Programs and Clinical Nephrology for UC San Diego Health System. In the UC San Diego School of Medicine, Mehta directs the Clinical Research Enhancement through Supplemental Training (CREST) and Master’s Degree in Clinical Research programs.

In 2011, Mehta received the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) Shire Bywaters Award for his lifetime achievements in acute kidney injury.

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Dr. Rohit Loomba on Fatty Liver Disease: HHMI Bulletin

Dr. Rohit LoombaDr. Rohit Loomba, a UCSD hepatologist who specializes in fatty liver disease, is interviewed in an article about the disease in the Fall 2012 health bulletin from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

In “The Fat You Can’t See,” Loomba describes the rising incidence of fatty liver disease and points to society’s general increase in dietary sugar intake as a major cause. He emphasizes the importance of identifying individuals who are at highest risk for developing the disease and he predicts there will be a dramatic increase in our understanding of the disease in the next five years.

Rohit Loomba, MD, MHSc, is assistant professor of clinical medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology. He also holds an appointment in the Division of Epidemiology in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine.

Loomba conducts his clinical practice in UC San Diego Health System’s liver disease clinics. In his research laboratory, he conducts a variety of studies of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), including a number of clinical trials.

With a four-year mentored patient-oriented research career development grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), Loomba is investigating the genetic epidemiology of NAFLD in a twin-pair study. In that work, his mentors are UCSD researchers Daniel T. O’Connor, MD, professor of medicine and pharmacology; Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, MD, distinguished professor and chief of the Division of Epidemiology in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine; and David Brenner, MD, Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine.

Loomba serves as the UCSD site principal investigator for the Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis Clinical Research Network (NASH-CRN) studies in adult patients with NAFLD. NASH-CRN, an NIDDK-sponsored research consortium funded via a UO1 research program-cooperative agreement mechanism, aims to improve understanding of the natural history, pathophysiology and management of NAFLD.

In addition, he is the founding director and principal investigator of the San Diego Integrated NAFLD Research Consortium (SINC), which includes four centers: UCSD, Kaiser Permanente Health System, Sharp Health System, and Balboa Naval Medical Center. SINC is a collaborative network that allows community-based patients to participate in NAFLD studies conducted at UCSD.

Loomba has established a major NAFLD research program at UCSD with recently published investigator-initiated treatment studies in NASH (Le et al., Hepatology September 2012) and several in progress.

In various NAFLD translational research studies currently ongoing at UCSD, Loomba collaborates with Drs. Jerrold Olefsky, David Brenner, Claude Sirlin, Bernd Schnabl, Lars Eckmann, Edward Dennis, Ariel Feldstein and Ekihiro Seki.

He also directs the UCSD fellowship training program in liver epidemiology and patient-oriented outcomes research.

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NIH Funds UCGHI GloCal Health Fellowship to Train Next Generation of Global Health Researchers

The University of California Global Health Institute (UCGHI) announces the UCGHI GloCal Health Fellowship funded by the Fogarty International Center (FIC) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to provide global health research training opportunities for 9-12 fellows annually for the next five years. Co-led by Drs. Steffanie Strathdee (UC San Diego) and Craig Cohen (UCSF), this program will contribute to the development of future global health researchers at the University of California and international partner institutions …… Read the full story from the University of California Global Health Institute

Dr. Steffanie Strathdee
Co-directing the UCGHI GloCal Health Fellowship program is Dr. Steffanie Strathdee, Associate Dean of Global Health Sciences and Harold Simon Professor and Chief of the UC San Diego Division of Global Public Health; Director, UC San Diego Global Health Initiative.

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SDSC’s “Big Data” Expertise Aiding Genomics Research

Focus on Genomics Medicine is Growing, says SDSC’s Norman

The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California, San Diego, has in the last three years undergone a major reboot, remaking itself into a center of expertise on all aspects of “big data” research including genomics, one of the fastest growing areas of scientific study. …. Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom

Dr. Lucila Ohno-Machado
Among the current “big data” genomics projects at the San Diego Supercomputer Center is the Integrating Data for Analysis, Anonymization, and Sharing (iDASH) center, led by Lucila Ohno-Machado, MD, PhD, pictured above.

Ohno-Machado is professor of medicine, founding chief of the Division of Biomedical Informatics and associate dean for informatics and technology at UC San Diego.

iDASH is supported by the National Institutes of Health through the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research.  |  Read iDASH project abstract  |  Visit iDASH website  |   Visit San Diego Supercomputer Center website
Photo of Dr. Ohno-Machado: John Hanacek, Calit2 UC San Diego.

Dr. Sylvia Evans Receives 2009 NIH Director’s Pioneer Award

Cardiac researcher Dr. Sylvia Evans has received an NIH Director’s Pioneer Award for her innovative efforts to develop new treatments for heart failure.Sylvia Evans, PhD, is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology and Professor of Pharmacy at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Dr. Evans, a developmental biologist, investigates heart development and congenital heart disease. In recent work, she has sought to identify how cardiac progenitor cells develop into the specialized cells, or cell lineages, that make up a functioning heart.

Her NIH Pioneer Award project is entitled, “Approaches to Cardiac Regeneration.” In it, Dr. Evans is exploring the possibility of using cardiac progenitor cells to treat adult heart disease.

The Pioneer Award grant will provide five years of funding, with $772,500 in fiscal year 2009-2010.  |  Read the news release from the National Institutes of Health

“This award is well deserved. Dr. Evans has contributed greatly to our understanding of how the heart forms. Her research has led to novel concepts about how to generate new heart tissue for the treatment of heart failure,” said Dr. Kirk Knowlton, Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Cardiology.

Dr. Knowlton and Dr. Evans have collaborated in cardiac research since Dr. Evans joined the faculty in 1991. They and Dr. Andrew McCulloch from Bioengineering are co-directors of the Cardiac Biomedical Science and Engineering Center of the UCSD Institute of Engineering in Medicine.

Pioneer Awards are granted to research projects in which the NIH Director’s Office sees extraordinary originality and promise. Only a small number are given each year.

Dr. Evans is one of 18 U.S. researchers honored with a Pioneer Award in 2009. The awards were announced in a ceremony at the Pioneer Award Symposium September 24-25 in Bethesda, Maryland.

Dr. Seth J. Field Wins NIH Director’s New Innovator Award Grant

Dr. Seth J. Field is one of two UC San Diego faculty members to win an NIH Director’s New Innovator Award grant from the National Institutes of Health for 2008.

Seth J. Field, M.D., Ph.D.Seth J. Field, M.D., Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism.

The five-year, $1.5-million grant will support his research in phosphoinositides, a group of membrane molecules that function in intracellular signaling.

Although phosphoinositides are known to be involved in causing cardiovascular, inflammatory, and neurologic disease as well as diabetes and cancer, they are not well understood.

Read the full
story from UCSD
Health Sciences

Dr. Field’s project will use three new approaches to arrive at a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of the roles the phosphoinositides play in health and disease. |   Read the public abstract of Dr. Field’s research project

The NIH Director’s New Innovator grants are awarded to a small number of promising new biomedical or behavioral research investigators each year.

Award recipients are selected for the exceptional creativity and potential impact of their research.

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