Drs. Shu Chien, Shaochen Chen Report Creation of in Vitro Liver Tissue Model Using Novel Bioprinting Technology

A team led by engineers at the University of California, San Diego has 3D-printed a tissue that closely mimics the human liver’s sophisticated structure and function. The new model could be used for patient-specific drug screening and disease modeling. The work was published the week of Feb. 8 in the online early edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Shu Chien, MD, PhD

Shu Chien, MD, PhD. Photo courtesy of Jacobs School of Engineering/UC San Diego.

Shu Chien, MD, PhD, co-senior author of the study report in PNAS, is founding chair of the UC San Diego Department of Bioengineering and director of the Institute of Engineering in Medicine.

In the Department of Medicine, he is Distinguished Professor of Medicine in the Division of Physiology.

Dr. Chien is a world-renowned researcher and inventor who has conducted pioneering investigations in atherosclerosis and hypertension. His work has brought about significant advances in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease.

Read the abstract of the PNAS report

Read more about the biofabrication technology used to create the liver model

Cancer and the Immune System: A Double-Edged Sword

Cell surface sugars can promote or inhibit cancer depending upon stage

During cancer development, tumor cells decorate their surfaces with sugar compounds called glycans that are different from those found on normal, healthy cells. In the Sept. 15 online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report that sialic acids at the tips of these cancer cell glycans are capable of engaging with immune system cells and changing the latter’s response to the tumor – for good and bad. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Ajit Varki, MDPrincipal investigator of the study is Ajit Varki, MD, distinguished professor of medicine and cellular medicine, member of the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center and co-director of both the Glycobiology Research and Training Center and UCSD/Salk Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA).

New More Effective Antimicrobials Might Rise From Old

Findings could have major impact in struggle against evolving drug resistance

By tinkering with their chemical structures, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have essentially re-invented a class of popular antimicrobial drugs, restoring and in some cases, expanding or improving, their effectiveness against drug-resistant pathogens in animal models.

Writing in the October 7 Early Edition of PNAS, Lars Eckmann, MD, professor of medicine, and colleagues … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Dr. Lars EckmannLars Eckmann, MD, professor of medicine and a researcher in the Division of Gastroenterology, is senior investigator in the study.

Eckmann directs the UCSD Center for Tissue Repair, Epithelial Biology and Inflammation, and Transformation (C-TREAT), a National Institutes of Health Digestive Disease Research Development Center.

In his research laboratory, he addresses the mechanisms governing infection-related intestinal disease and the host defenses against them; and the pathophysiology of intestinal inflammation.

Other Department of Medicine coauthors of the PNAS report are project scientist Yukiko Miyamoto, Dae Young Cheung, Ricardo Lozano, Eduardo R. Cobo and professor Douglas E. Berg.

Citation for the study report:

Yukiko Miyamoto, Jarosław Kalisiak, Keith Korthals, Tineke Lauwaet, Dae Young Cheung, Ricardo Lozano, Eduardo R. Cobo, Peter Upcroft, Jacqueline A. Upcroft, Douglas E. Berg, Frances D. Gillin, Valery V. Fokin, K. Barry Sharpless, and Lars Eckmann. Expanded therapeutic potential in activity space of next-generation 5-nitroimidazole antimicrobials with broad structural diversity. PNAS 2013; published ahead of print October 7, 2013, doi:10.1073/pnas.1302664110  |  Full text PDF (UCSD only)

More Information:

Potential New Way to Suppress Tumor Growth Discovered

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues at the University of Rochester Medical Center, have identified a new mechanism that appears to suppress tumor growth, opening the possibility of developing a new class of anti-cancer drugs. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Dr. Willis X. Li

Dr. Willis X. Li

Senior author of the study report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is Willis X. Li, PhD, professor of medicine in the Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine and faculty member in the Biomedical Sciences graduate program.

Li’s UC San Diego Department of Medicine coauthors are postdoctoral fellow Pranabananda Dutta, PhD; pulmonary/critical care physician-scientist Jinghong Li, MD, PhD, and senior undergraduate student Jingtong Wang.

Coauthors Xiaoyu Hu, Amy Tsurumi and Hartmut Land are colleagues at the University of Rochester, where Li was a faculty member and researcher at the Wilmot Cancer Center before he joined the faculty at UC San Diego.

At the University of Rochester, LI received the 2008 Davey Memorial Award for Outstanding Cancer Research for his work in the cellular and molecular signaling in cancer development.

He is now principal investigator of an R01 research grant from the National Cancer Institute for the project, Epigenetic Tumor Induction by Heterochromatin Instability.

Citation for the study report:  

Xiaoyu Hu, Pranabananda Dutta, Amy Tsurumi, Jinghong Li, Jingtong Wang, Hartmut Land, and Willis X. Li. Unphosphorylated STAT5A stabilizes heterochromatin and suppresses tumor growth. PNAS 2013 ; published ahead of print June 3, 2013, doi:10.1073/pnas.1221243110  |  Abstract  |  Full text (PDF)

Enzyme Accelerates Malignant Stem Cell Cloning in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

An international team, headed by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, has identified a key enzyme in the reprogramming process that promotes malignant stem cell cloning and the growth of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), a cancer of the blood and marrow that experts say is increasing in prevalence. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Catriona H. M. Jamieson, MD, PhDPrincipal investigator of the study is Catriona H. M. Jamieson, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology-Oncology and director of stem cell research at the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center.

Dr. Jamieson is on the steering committee for the Moores Cancer Center’s My Answer to Cancer initiative for personalized cancer therapy. She is a member of the faculty in the UCSD Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program.

Department of Medicine faculty coauthor Sheldon R. Morris, MD, MPH, an investigator at the UCSD Antiviral Research Center,is health sciences assistant clinical professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases.

Citation for the report in PNAS: Jiang Q, Crews LA, Barrett CL, Chun H-J, Court AC, Isquith JM, Zipeto MA, Goff DJ, Minden M, Sadarangani A, Rusert JM, Dao K-HT, Morris SR, Goldstein LSB, Marra MA, Kelly A. Frazer KA, Jamieson C.H.M. ADAR1 promotes malignant progenitor reprogramming in chronic myeloid leukemia. PNAS 2012; published ahead of print December 28, 2012, doi:10.1073/pnas.1213021110

Read the study report (free full text)

More about Dr. Jamieson and her work:

Scarring Cells Revert to Inactive State As Liver Heals

Research with mice reveals possible strategy to reverse fibrosis in liver and other organs

An international team of scientists, led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, report that significant numbers of myofibroblasts – cells that produce the fibrous scarring in chronic liver injury – revert to an inactive phenotype as the liver heals. The discovery in mouse models could ultimately help lead to new human therapies for reversing fibrosis in the liver, and in other organs like the lungs and kidneys…. Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Dr. David A. Brenner
Senior author of the study report is David A. Brenner, MD, vice chancellor for Health Sciences, dean of the UC San Diego School of Medicine and professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology.

Among the coauthors is Wolfgang H. Dillmann, MD, Helen M. Ranney Professor and Chair, Department of Medicine and translational researcher in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism.

A New Approach to Faster Anticancer Drug Discovery

Tracking the genetic pathway of a disease offers a powerful, new approach to drug discovery, according to scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine who used the approach to uncover a potential treatment for prostate cancer, using a drug currently marketed for congestive heart failure. Their findings are published in the current online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of SciencesRead the full story from the UCSD Newsroom

M. Geoff Rosenfeld, MD,
M. Geoff Rosenfeld, MD, is an investigator in the study. Dr. Rosenfeld is professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. |  Read the article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Sexual Selection by Sugar Molecule Helped Determine Human Origins

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine say that losing the ability to make a particular kind of sugar molecule boosted disease protection in early hominids, and may have directed the evolutionary emergence of our ancestors, the genus Homo….Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom

Dr. Ajit Varki

Dr. Ajit Varki, pictured above left, is senior author along with Dr. Pascal Gagneux, who is professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine. 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 study published in PNAS (free full text)

Call of the Riled

Stress Signal in Cancer Cells Triggers Similar Response in Other Cells, Aiding Tumor Growth

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine say a “stress response” mechanism used by normal cells to cope with harsh or demanding conditions is exploited by cancer cells, which transmit the same stress signal to surrounding cells, triggering an inflammatory response in them that can aid tumor growth…. Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Dr. Maurizio ZanettiDr. Maurizio Zanetti, pictured at left, is senior author of the study. Maurizio Zanetti, MD, is Emeritus Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology-Oncology and Director of the Laboratory of Immunology at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center|  Read the abstract of the published report in PNAS.

Varki and Coworkers Find Possible Link Between Dietary Meat Products and Cancer Growth

Dr. Ajit Varki and a team of UCSD investigators have found that Neu5Gc, a sugar molecule not naturally produced by humans but found in red meat products, is also present in tumor tissue.

Neu5Gc may cause low-grade, chronic inflammation by accumulating in tissue after meat products are eaten and provoking the body to mount an ongoing immune defense against it.

Chronic inflammation is known to contribute to cancer risk.

The finding extends Dr. Varki’s earlier work exploring Neu5Gc (N-glycolylneuraminic acid), the immune system, and inflammation.

Read the full story
from UC San Diego
Health Sciences Communications

Ajit Varki, M.D., is Distinguished Professor of Medicine (Division of Hematology/Oncology) and Cellular and Molecular Medicine and co-director of the UCSD Glycobiology Research and Training Center.

Dr. Varki is also Associate Dean for Physician-Scientist Training.

The study report is in publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS):

Hedlund M, Padler-Karavani V, Varki NM, Varki A. Evidence for a human-specific mechanism for diet and antibody-mediated inflammation in carcinoma progression. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Nov 18. [Epub ahead of print]    Abstract | Read the report (full text)

More Information