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.

$52M NIH Grant Advances Clinical and Translational Research at UC San Diego

Federal funding will help further on-going efforts to translate discoveries to clinic —

The Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTRI) at University of California, San Diego has received a five-year Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) for approximately $52 million from the National Center for Advancing Translational Science, part of the National Institutes of Health. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego News Center

Binational Police Program in Tijuana Targets HIV Reduction

Effort also aims to improve safety of officers —

Research consistently shows that policing practices, such as confiscating or breaking needles, are key factors in the HIV epidemic among persons who inject drugs. Police officers themselves are also at risk of acquiring HIV or viral hepatitis if they experience needle-stick injuries on the job — a significant source of anxiety and staff turn-over.

A binational team from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission, Mexico Section has launched a new research project aimed at promoting prevention of HIV and other blood-borne infections. The effort is led by Steffanie Strathdee, PhD, professor and director of the UC San Diego Global Health Initiative, Leo Beletsky, JD, MPH, associate professor, and Gudelia Rangel, PhD, deputy general director for migrant health and executive secretary of the Mexico Section of the Mexico-United States Border Health Commission, in partnership with the Tijuana Police Department and Police Academy. The binational team will offer and evaluate Proyecto ESCUDO (Project SHIELD), a police education program designed to align law enforcement and HIV prevention in Tijuana. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Global Public Health Division Video Wins 2nd Prize in Video Challenge Competition for UC Global Health Day

A video made by doctoral candidate Jaime Arredondo and other members of the Division of Global Public Health has won second prize in the Video Challenge Competition for UC Global Health Day.

The video, “The Forgotten: Clinica del Bordo,” takes viewers to the San Diego-Tijuana border, where Arredondo and many other members of the global public health division provide wound care, HIV testing and other basic health services to people who live in the Tijuana River Canal.

Canal Wound Clinic, or Clinica del Bordo, is an outreach effort of UC San Diego’s NIDA-funded Proyecto el Cuete IV program, Impact of Drug Policy Reform on the HIV Risk Environment Among IDUs in Tijuana.

“This brief video embodies our division’s philosophy of integrating research, training and service to improve the health of our border community,” said Division of Global Public Health chief Steffanie Strathdee, PhD.

“I am very proud that our work is upheld by our students, as they are our next generation of health providers and prevention scientists.”

Dr. Strathdee is Harold Simon Professor, Associate Dean of Global Health Sciences; Chief, Division of Global Public Health and Director of the UC San Diego Global Health Initiative.

Jaime Arredondo is an AIDS International Training and Research (AITRP) fellow.

The video is here:

Molecular Link between Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes Reveals Potential Therapy

Inflammatory molecule LTB4 promotes insulin resistance in obese mice and blocking the LTB4 receptor prevents and reverses type 2 diabetes in this model —

Obesity causes inflammation, which can in turn lead to type 2 diabetes. What isn’t well established is how inflammation causes diabetes — or what we can do to stop it. Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered that the inflammatory molecule LTB4 promotes insulin resistance, a first step in developing type 2 diabetes. What’s more, the team found that genetically removing the cell receptor that responds to LTB4, or blocking it with a drug, improves insulin sensitivity in obese mice. The study is published Feb. 23 by Nature Medicine. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Jerrold OlefskyStudy senior author Jerrold M. Olefsky, MD, is professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism and associate dean for scientific affairs for the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine.

Read article (UC San Diego only)

UC San Diego School of Medicine Named One of Nation’s Top Residency Programs

Recognized by physicians for training leadership in Doximity report — 

UC San Diego School of Medicine was today named one of the nation’s top residency training programs in 10 specialties by Doximity. The Doximity report included more than 50,000 peer nominations from board-certified US physicians, and evaluated 3,691 residency training programs across 20 specialties.

“One of the most important functions of our academic health system is residency training for the next generation of physicians. The outstanding training of our residents guarantees great future physicians for San Diego and beyond,” said David A. Brenner, MD, vice chancellor for Health Sciences and dean of the UC San Diego School of Medicine.

UC San Diego School of Medicine placed in the top 10 for residency training in the West in the following specialties: internal medicine, anesthesiology, dermatology, obstetrics & gynecology, orthopaedic surgery, otolaryngology, pediatrics, psychiatry, radiology (diagnostic) and surgery. More than 900 post-graduate trainees, including interns, residents and fellows, train at UC San Diego each year…. Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Simerjot Jassal

Dr. Simerjot Jassal

Simerjot Jassal, MD, MAS, FACP, pictured at left, directs the Internal Medicine Residency Training Program and its Preliminary Medicine track.

Dr. Jassal is clinical professor in the Department of Medicine.

Dr. Mark Ginsberg

Dr. Mark Ginsberg

Mark Ginsberg, MD, professor of medicine, directs the program’s research track, the Physician-Scientist Training Program.

In other Department of Medicine-related training, UC San Diego School of Medicine placed in the top 10 for residency training in anesthesiology, dermatology and pediatrics.

Dr. Jassal co-directs a new Combined Medicine-Anesthesia program track of the Internal Medicine Residency Training Program with Daniel Lee, MD, PhD, associate clinical professor of anesthesiology and pediatrics.

Dr. Lori Wan

Dr. Lori Wan

A Combined Medicine-Pediatrics Training Program track of the internal medicine program is directed by Lori Wan, MD, clinical professor of medicine.

Also rated in the top 10 is UC San Diego’s Dermatology Residency Training Program, directed by dermatology division chief Richard L. Gallo, MD, PhD, and Casey Carlos, MD, PhD, pictured below.

Dr. Gallo is professor of medicine and pediatrics and Dr. Carlos is assistant clinical professor in the Division of Dermatology in the Department of Medicine.

Dr. Richard Gallo

Dr. Richard Gallo

Casey Carlos, MD, PhD

Dr. Casey Carlos

 

 

 

Why Typhoid Fever Is Human Specific: Dr. Ajit Varki and Coworkers Discover One Explanation

Typhoid Mary, Not Typhoid Mouse: Lack of enzyme explains why typhoid fever is a human-specific disease

The bacterium Salmonella Typhi causes typhoid fever in humans, but leaves other mammals unaffected.  Researchers at University of California, San Diego and Yale University Schools of Medicine now offer one explanation — CMAH, an enzyme that humans lack. Without this enzyme, a toxin deployed by the bacteria is much better able to bind and enter human cells, making us sick. The study is published in the Dec. 4 issue of Cell.

In most mammals (including our closest evolutionary cousins, the great apes), the CMAH enzyme reconfigures the sugar molecules found on these animals’ cell surfaces into a form that the typhoid toxin cannot bind. Humans don’t produce CMAH, meaning our cell surface sugars are left unchanged — and as this study shows, in a state just right for typhoid toxin attachment.

“We started this project looking at something completely different in relation to cancer, but serendipity instead helped us solve the mystery of what the typhoid toxin binds,” said co-senior author Ajit Varki, MD, Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Medicine at UC San Diego. “That’s the beauty of basic research — though we didn’t set out with the intent, these findings may now spur the development of new therapies for typhoid fever.” Varki co-directed the study with Jorge E. Galán, PhD, DVM, professor and department chair at Yale University School of Medicine. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

UC San Diego Health System Retains #1 Ranking

US News & World Report Cites Region’s Only Academic Health System Among Nation’s Best 

UC San Diego Health System remains among the nation’s best, according to the U.S. News & World Report’s 2014-15 issue of “America’s Best Hospitals,” released this week. The magazine’s widely cited findings again placed UC San Diego Health System first in the San Diego metropolitan area and fifth in California, with national rankings in 11 specialties, up from 10 last year. This is comparable to the country’s most prestigious health care institutions.  Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Sulpizio Cardiovascular CenterUC San Diego Health System is nationally ranked in eleven medical specialties, including seven in the Department of Medicine:  Cancer, Cardiology, Endocrinology & Diabetes, Gastroenterology, Geriatrics, Nephrology, Pulmonology and Rheumatology.

U.S. News & World Report Names UC San Diego Graduate Programs Among Nation’s Best

School of Medicine and Jacobs School of Engineering both ranked at 14. Other top 20 programs include biological sciences (14), computer science (15), earth sciences (16), and physics (16)

The 2015 edition of the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Graduate Schools guidebook, released today, highly ranks the University of California, San Diego’s professional schools in engineering and medicine, as well as its academic Ph.D. programs in the sciences. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego News Center

UC San Diego-Human Longevity Inc. Agreement Seeks to Accelerate Medical Science

Thousands of patient genomes expected to fuel diverse medical research, beginning with cancer

The new collaborative research agreement between Human Longevity Inc. (HLI) and the University of California, San Diego, announced today, represents a significant and necessary step in efforts to research and translate the potential of the human genome into novel and real treatments and therapies able to change and improve the human condition.

“This agreement brings together the resources of two entities that, in combination, may ultimately help improve countless lives,” said David A. Brenner, MD, vice chancellor of health sciences at UC San Diego and dean of the UC San Diego School of Medicine. “HLI aims to bring leading-edge thinking in genomics technologies. UC San Diego boasts some of the world’s finest researchers and physicians working at places like the Moores Cancer Center. Together, we will collaborate to marshal the people, the tools and the resources to really make a difference in human health.” … Read the full story from the UC San Diego News Center