Protein That Protects During Stress Sheds Light on How Diabetes Drug Prevents Tumors

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have identified a previously unknown mechanism that helps fortify the structure and tight junctions between epithelial cells — a basic cell type that lines various body cavities and organs throughout the body, forming a protective barrier against toxins, pathogens and inflammatory triggers. Breaches of this barrier can provoke organ dysfunction and development of tumors.

The findings, published online in the current issue of eLife by senior author Pradipta Ghosh, MD … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Pradipta Ghosh

Pradipta Ghosh, MD

Pradipta Ghosh, MD, MBBS, is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology.

She is a graduate of the UC San Diego Internal Medicine Residency Training Program, the Gastroenterology Fellowship Training Program and the Department of Medicine Physician-Scientist Training Program.

2016 Update: A Lasting Solution for Healthcare in Mozambique

Mozambique highlighted on a map of Africa There is a critical shortage of practicing doctors and medical educators in Mozambique, where the life expectancy is less than 42 years and the rate of HIV infection in adults is 16%. UC San Diego is teaming with the nation’s flagship medical school to create a long-term solution.

Mozambique’s Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) and UCSD have won a five-year, $12.5-million award from the U.S. Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI). The project will strengthen the nation’s medical education system by building infrastructure in several ways.


“We hope this will be a demonstration project for the rest of Africa.”
— Dr. Robert Schooley


Dr. Emilia Virginia Noormahomed, a co-investigator on the UCSD-UEM MEPI project.UEM’s principal investigator is Emilia Virginia Noormahomed, MD, PhD, a former dean of the UEM School of Medicine. Dr. Noormahomed (pictured at left) is now Assistant Professor of Parasitology at UEM and Assistant Professor of Medicine at UC San Diego.

Sam Patel, MD, Professor of Medicine at UEM and UC San Diego, is a co-investigator. In the photo below, he is pictured on the right.

View photo captions and credits

Dr. Bill Detmer, at left, demonstrates iPad mobile digital device preloaded with medical programs for doctors’ use in the hospital. Dr. Manuel Joaquim Tomás is at center and Dr. Sam Patel at right. Sam Patel, M.D., co-investigator on the MEPI project, is Professor of Medicine at UEM and UCSD. Bill Detmer, M.D., M.Sc., a MEPI project consultant, is Assistant Adjunct Professor of Clinical Informatics at the University of Virginia and President and Chief Executive Officer of Unbound Medicine.

MEPI is a joint initiative of the National Institutes of Health and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Under the MEPI program, UEM receives the bulk of the funding and uses it to build capacity in medical training, research, and technology.

A smaller amount of funding comes directly to UC San Diego, supporting time and travel for the partners and mentors who will help UEM meet its goals.

M. Wilson Tilghman, M.D., UCSD’s on-site faculty member in Mozambique, consults with a UEM internal medicine resident at a patient’s bedside. Instituting the use of wirelessly-accessed medical reference material in the hospital is one of the UCSD-UEM project goals.“This is an experiment in medical education for UEM and for the U.S. government,” said Robert “Chip” Schooley, MD, who is coordinating the UC San Diego side of the project. “It puts the funding into the hands of the African universities and allows them to invest it in ways that are beneficial to them.”

Dr. Schooley is Professor and Academic Affairs Vice Chair in the Department of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases.

“I’m hopeful this will become a model for other kinds of aid,” he said.

Dr. Schooley and colleague Constance Benson, MD, have long experience in partnering with Mozambique and other African nations, and they have collaborated with Dr. Noormahomed in research projects for several years. Dr. Benson is Professor of Medicine, Director of the UC San Diego Antiviral Research Center, and Director of the Fellowship Program in Infectious Diseases.

The UEM-UCSD MEPI project expands some of the educational efforts that have been going on since July 2009 in the Internal Medicine Residency Program’s Global Medicine elective.

UC San Diego’s visiting faculty and residents have helped UEM adopt academic medical practices such as morning report and teaching conferences that strengthen the educational program.

MEPI biomedical informatics team members at October conference at UEM in Maputo.

MEPI biomedical informatics team members at October conference at UEM in Maputo.

The MEPI partnership relies heavily on biomedical informatics to accomplish its goals. This component of the program is led by Lucila Ohno-Machado, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine and Chief of UC San Diego’s Division of Biomedical Informatics. The division will provide expertise for the partnership’s information technology projects.

Dr. Kathy Promer, a 2013 graduate of the UC San Diego Internal Medicine Program, is the current infectious diseases fellow at UC San Diego on rotation at UEM’s Maputo Central Hospital. In the photo below, she is standing, second from the right.

Dr. Kathy Promer (standing, second from the right), 2013 Graduate of the UCSD Internal Medicine Program and current infectious diseases fellow at UCSD on rotation at UEM’s Maputo Central Hospital.

Smartphones and iPad mobile digital devices have been deployed on the wards at Maputo Central Hospital, UEM’s primary teaching hospital and the only tertiary care center in Mozambique. With these devices, the Mozambican doctors are able for the first time to consult online medical literature at a patient’s bedside. Soon they will have immediate access to data generated by the hospital’s clinical laboratories.

“These efforts really have changed the character of the residency program at Maputo Central Hospital,” said Dr. Schooley.

Through training and partnership with UC San Diego, UEM will also increase its capacity to do operational, epidemiological, translational and clinical research. Another program goal calls for UEM to set up a biomedical informatics infrastructure and connect with SEACOM, the new fiber optic broadband internet service in South and East Africa.

Students in UEM medical school class.UEM will also take steps to enhance its support of two new medical schools recently established by the Mozambican government in Nampula and Tete. These two new medical schools were launched in the past 3 years to address the profound shortage of physicians in the country.

Another key UC San Diego figure in the project is Stephen Bickler, MD, who will work to improve the nation’s surgical capacity in rural areas via a linked MEPI project, “UEM-UCSD Surgery Partnership.” Dr. Bickler is Associate Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics.

A number of other UC San Diego faculty members will contribute to the MEPI effort as well.

Medical school class   UCSD internal medicine resident Dr. Bethany Karl

Above left, a medical school class at Universidade Eduardo Mondlane. Right, Dr. Bethany Karl on rotation at UEM’s Maputo Central Hospital. Dr. Karl graduated from the UC San Diego Internal Medicine Program in 2010 and is currently a nephrology attending. Photo courtesy of Robert T. Schooley, MD

Project leaders expect to double the number of graduating doctors in Mozambique in the next 10 years. They also hope to inspire more doctors to devote their careers to medical education.

With a greater number of highly-trained doctors and a better infrastructure to support them, Mozambique will increase its capacity to deliver health care to its citizens and to fill the faculties of two new medical schools in Nampula and Tete.

The doctors training today in Mozambique will be the specialists, medical school faculty members, and government Ministry of Health policymakers of the future.

“We hope this will be a demonstration project for the rest of Africa,” Dr. Schooley said.

Read the UC San Diego News press release about our MEPI project.

Read about the project in “The Great Beyond,” Nature magazine’s blog
for breaking news in the sciences.


Photo Captions and Credits:

Dr. Emilia Virginia Noormahomed, co-principal investigator on the UCSD-UEM MEPI project.Dr. Emilia Virginia Noormahomed, co-principal investigator on the UC San Diego-UEM MEPI project. Photo courtesy of William M. Detmer, MD, MSc.

Drs. Detmer, Tomás, and PatelDr. Bill Detmer, left, demonstrates iPad mobile digital device preloaded with medical programs for doctors’ use in the hospital. Dr. Manuel Joaquim Tomás is at center and Dr. Sam Patel at right. Sam Patel, MD, co-investigator on the MEPI project, is Professor of Medicine at UEM and UC San Diego. William M. Detmer, MD, MSc, a MEPI project consultant, is Assistant Adjunct Professor of Clinical Informatics at the University of Virginia and President and Chief Executive Officer of Unbound Medicine. Photo courtesy of Dr. Detmer.

Dr. Tilghman and Mozambican residentM. Wilson Tilghman, MD, UC San Diego’s on-site faculty member in Mozambique, consults with a UEM internal medicine resident at a patient’s bedside. Instituting the use of wirelessly-accessed medical reference material in the hospital is one of the UC San Diego-UEM project goals. Photo courtesy of Robert T. Schooley, MD.

MEPI biomedical informatics team members at October conference at UEM in Maputo. MEPI biomedical informatics team members at October conference at UEM in Maputo. From left: Lucila Ohno-Machado, MD, PhD; Eli Aronoff-Spencer, MD, senior postdoctoral fellow in infectious diseases at UC San Diego; Eng. David Bila, Network Director for the Informatics Center at UEM; Heimar de Fátima Marin, RN, PhD, Professor of Health Informatics at Universidade Federal de São Paulo; and Eng. Francisco Mabila, Director of the Informatics Center at UEM. Photo courtesy of William M. Detmer, MD, MSc.

Dr. Kathy Promer (standing, second from the right), is a 2013 graduate of the UC San Diego Internal Medicine Program and is the current infectious diseases fellow at UC San Diego on rotation at UEM’s Maputo Central Hospital.

Students in a medical school class at UEM.Students in a medical school class at UEM. Photo courtesy of William M. Detmer, MD, MSc.

A medical school class at UEM.A medical school class at UEM. Photo courtesy of William M. Detmer, MD, MSc.

UCSD internal medicine resident Dr. Bethany Karl on rotation at UEM’s Maputo Central Hospital.UC San Diego internal medicine resident Dr. Bethany Karl on rotation at UEM’s Maputo Central Hospital. Photo courtesy of Robert T. Schooley, MD.

Trademark Credit Notices:

iPad is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

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.

UC San Diego’s Graduate Programs Among Best in Nation, According to U.S. News and World Report

New guidebook lauds campus’s professional programs in engineering and medicine —

The 2017 edition of U.S. News and World Report’s Best Graduate Schools guidebook, released today, highly ranks the University of California, San Diego’s professional schools and programs in engineering and medicine. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


In the 2017 rankings, the UC San Diego School of Medicine tied with Weill Cornell Medical College for #18 in research and ranked #21 in primary care.

In the most recent ranking of HIV/AIDS programs (conducted separately), UC San Diego ranked #11.

In other medicine-related programs at UC San Diego, the Division of Biological Sciences placed in a four-way tie for #14 with Columbia University, Rockefeller University, and the University of Chicago.

The Biomedical Engineering/Bioengineering program ranked #4. UC San Diego ranked #11 in Computer Systems and #14 in Computer Science Theory.

See details of the UC San Diego School of Medicine rankings in U.S.News & World Report

UC San Diego Launches New Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research Center

Roughly one-quarter of all Americans – an estimated 100 million adults and children – have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a chronic condition that can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver failure. Combining a diverse array of basic science, biomarkers, imaging and clinical efforts, University of California, San Diego School of Medicine has launched a new NAFLD Research Center to better understand the disease and develop treatments where none currently exist.

“We already have a lot of depth and breadth in the study and treatment of NAFLD and associated conditions at UC San Diego,” said Rohit Loomba, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology and director of the new center. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Rohit Loomba, MDNAFLD Research Center director Rohit Loomba, MD, MHSc, is Professor of Clinical Medicine and Associate Director of Clinical Research in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

He is a clinical and translational physician-scientist who focuses his work on chronic liver diseases with particular attention to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). He is an internationally recognized expert in translational research and innovative clinical trial design in NAFLD and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and hepatic fibrosis.

He directs the NAFLD Clinic at UC San Diego Medical Center.

Dr. Loomba became a member of the Division of Gastroenterology faculty in 2009, when he graduated from the UC San Diego Gastroenterology Fellowship Program. He received his clinical and research training in advanced hepatology at the National Institutes of Health.

He holds an adjunct faculty appointment in the UC San Diego Division of Epidemiology, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at UC San Diego.

Frontiers of Innovation Fellows to Showcase Research Addressing Global Challenges at Symposium

November 25, 2015

After a study abroad trip to Tanzania as an undergraduate, Julie Bergmann knew that she wanted to pursue a career in public health. Now a doctoral candidate in global health at UC San Diego, Bergmann is conducting research in Uganda to assess health care barriers for HIV-exposed infants. Bergmann is part of the inaugural UC San Diego Frontiers of Innovation Scholars Program cohort and will present her research at the first annual FISP Symposium on Friday, Nov. 20. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Julie Bergmann, MHS, is a postdoctoral fellow in the Division of Global Public Health. She holds a master’s degree in International Health Systems from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Her research interest is in maternal and child health in sub-Saharan Africa, with a focus on developing practical and effective ways to address the needs of the vulnerable populations.

In a research project in Kenya, she is examining the couple-level obstacles, particularly in the male perspective, to the use of female contraception. Family planning is the most effective way to eliminate HIV-related maternal deaths and prevent mothers from transmitting HIV to their children.

New Findings on Fat Cell Metabolism Could Lead to New Approaches for Treating Diabetes and Obesity

November 17, 2015

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego report new insights into what nutrients fat cells metabolize to make fatty acids. The findings pave the way for understanding potential irregularities in fat cell metabolism that occur in patients with diabetes and obesity and could lead to new treatments for these conditions. The researchers published their findings online in the Nov. 16 issue of Nature Chemical Biology…. Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

UC San Diego Health Researchers Join Pancreatic Cancer “Dream Team”

November 10, 2015

International effort will seek to develop and test new therapies for deadly malignancy —

In an effort to advance research on one of the deadliest forms of cancer, University of California, San Diego School of Medicine researchers Andrew Lowy, MD, and Tannishtha Reya, PhD, have been recruited for their expertise in preclinical modeling, clinical trials and stem cell biology to join a “dream team” of international pancreatic cancer researchers.

The three-year, $12-million effort, sponsored by Stand Up To Cancer, Cancer Research UK and The Lustgarten Foundation, will pursue a three-pronged strategy to better understand and reset so-called “super-enhancers” that may be abnormally active in pancreatic tumors. Super-enhancers are bits of DNA that can cause over-expression of genetic signals, fueling cancer cell growth. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Tannishtha Reya, PhD, is Professor of Pharmacology in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Professor of Medicine in the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.

$5 Million ResMed Gift Supports Sleep Medicine at UC San Diego

October 29, 2015

The University of California, San Diego today announced a $5 million gift from locally based medical device company, ResMed Inc., to support sleep medicine research and care at the UC San Diego School of Medicine. The donation was made to the university in honor of ResMed’s founder and chairman of the board, Peter C. Farrell, PhD, DSc. ResMed is the global leader in pioneering new and innovative solutions for the diagnosis, treatment and management of sleep-disordered breathing, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other key chronic diseases.

The funding, totaling $5 million, will establish the Peter C. Farrell Sleep Center of Excellence, in addition to the Peter C. Farrell Presidential Chair in Pulmonary Medicine. ResMed’s donation to establish the endowed chair was matched with an additional $500,000 from the University of California as part of the UC system’s Presidential Match for Endowed Chairs. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Atul Malhotra, MDAtul Malhotra, MD, pictured at left, is professor and chair of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Director of Sleep Medicine at UC San Diego.

Spotting the Earliest Signs of Type 1 Diabetic Kidney Disease

JDRF network grant to fund study to find new types of diagnostic markers —

In an effort to pinpoint the earliest signs of diabetic kidney disease, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine are leading a multi-institutional international effort dedicated to finding a new breed of disease indicators.

The study, funded by a $2.5 million JDRF (formerly known as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) grant, will tap the potential of three emerging “omics” sciences to discover new ways to determine which patients are most likely to develop diabetic kidney disease. Samples from more than 2,000 type 1 diabetes patients, collected over a period of years by several medical centers around the world, will be used in the analyses. …Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Kumar Sharma, MD, FAHAPrincipal investigator of the study is Kumar Sharma, MD, FAHA, Professor of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology. He directs the Center for Renal Translational Medicine and the Institute of Metabolomic Medicine in UC San Diego School of Medicine.