Dietary Trans Fat Linked to Worse Memory

Higher consumption of dietary trans fatty acids (dTFA), commonly used in processed foods to improve taste, texture and durability, has been linked to worsened memory function in men 45 years old and younger, according to a University of California, San Diego School of Medicine study published online on June 17 in PLOS ONE. …Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Principal investigator of the study is Beatrice A. Golomb, MD, PhD, professor in the Department of Medicine.

Medicine 401 Teaching Award Winners Announced

The winners of the 2015 Medicine 401 Teaching Awards were announced at an awards ceremony on May 27. Granted by the third-year medical students each year, the awards go to residents and attending physicians for their excellence in teaching on the wards at the Veterans Administration San Diego Healthcare System and the UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest.

The winners:

VA Wards Resident Award: Dr. Tyler Woodell
Hillcrest Wards Resident Award: Dr. Michelle Pearlman

VA Wards Attending Award: Dr. Mara Zulauf
Hillcrest Wards Attending Award: Dr. Darcy Wooten

“There were many kind words of praise and admiration in the comments from the students who worked with Drs. Pearlman and Woodell,” said residency program director Simerjot Jassal, MD. “Congratulations to these outstanding doctors!”

The medical students’ comments included the following.

Dr. Michelle Pearlman

Dr. Michelle Pearlman

Of Michelle Pearlman, MD: … Really focused on teaching … worked hard during the rotation to make sure we were achieving our own goals and learning as much as possible … gave excellent feedback … made great teaching points during rounds … great example of professionalism … will make an excellent teacher … great role model … clear and detailed expectations … we knew exactly what to work on and how to succeed … one of the best residents with whom I have worked … gave frequent feedback enabling me to improve daily … strong leadership skills, a positive attitude, and a great work ethic … will make an amazing GI fellow and attending.

Dr. Pearlman has matched to a fellowship program in gastroenterology at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

Dr. Tyler Woodell

Dr. Tyler Woodell

Of Tyler Woodell, MD: Always made it a priority to have a teaching point every day … always willing to make sure all of our questions were answered and that we were engaged in patient care … went out of his way to make sure we had a good learning experience … an exceptional model physician who I would recommend to any student as a preceptor and any patient as a doctor … focused on making sure that we learned as much as possible … carved out time to talk through our assessment and plans with us … took time on rounds to talk through key issues with us …both a fantastic role model for compassionate patient care and bedside manner as well as an engaging teacher … clearly loved to teach … not only an outstanding teacher, but also very compassionate with patients.

Dr. Woodell has matched to a fellowship program in nephrology at Oregon Health & Science University.

Clinical Trial Launched to Assess Safety and Efficacy of Autism Drug Treatment

UC San Diego researchers open first study of suramin in children with autism —

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have launched a clinical trial to investigate the safety and efficacy of an unprecedented drug therapy for autism.

The phase 1 clinical trial, which is recruiting 20 qualifying participants, will evaluate suramin – a century-old drug still used for African sleeping sickness – as a novel treatment for children with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Previous published research by Robert K. Naviaux, MD, PhD, professor of medicine, pediatrics and pathology at UC San Diego School of Medicine, and colleagues reported that a single injection of suramin reversed symptoms of ASD in mouse models. …Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Senior author Robert K. Naviaux, MD, PhD, is professor of medicine in the Division of Medical Genetics. He co-directs the Mitochondrial and Metabolic Disease Center at UC San Diego.

Visit the Naviaux Laboratory website

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

Internal Medicine Resident Drs. Julie Chen and Darrin Wong Present Research at Department of Medicine Grand Rounds

Drs. Darrin Wong and Julie Chen at Medicine Grand Rounds.

Drs. Darrin Wong and Julie Chen at Medicine Grand Rounds.

On June 3, 2015, Drs. Julie Chen and Darrin Wong presented their research at Department of Medicine Grand Rounds.

The subject of Dr. Chen’s research was “Failure to Adjust Diabetes Medications at Discharge for Hospitalized Patients with Poorly Controlled Diabetes.”

Dr. Chen worked with members of the faculty in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, including Drs. Robert El-Kareh and Kristen Kulasa as well as Dr. Pedro Ramos from the Division of Hospital Medicine.

Dr. Wong presented his research on the topic, “Right Ventricular Dyssynchrony in CTEPH.” He worked with Dr. Daniel Blanchard from the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine.

Dr. Wong presenting background information about echocardiography.

Dr. Wong presenting background information about echocardiography.

Drs. Chen and Wong won their places at Medicine Grand Rounds when they were chosen for their admirable research achievements at the UC San Diego Annual Internal Medicine Resident Research Symposium on May 7.

The other research symposium winners were Drs. Satya Das, Noel Lee, Michele Pham and Kevin Shah. Drs. Das, Lee, and Pham will present their research at Medicine Grand Rounds on June 10.

Dr. Shah presented his research, along with fellow resident Dr. Nick Marston, on the topic, “Serial Sampling of Copeptin Levels Improves Diagnosis and Risk Stratification in Patients Presenting with Chest Pain: Results from the CHOPIN Trial” last June.

2015 Resident Research Symposium Winners

Research winners at last month’s Annual Internal Medicine Resident Research Symposium. Left to right: Drs. Shah, Lee, Das, Chen, Pham and Wong.

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


Resident Research Symposium: 34 Residents Present Work, Six Chosen to Speak at Medicine Grand Rounds

2015 Resident Research Symposium Winners

From left: Drs. Kevin Shah, Noel Lee, Nanu Das, Julie Chen, Michele Pham and Darrin Wong.

The Internal Medicine Residency Program presented its first annual Resident Research Symposium to a full crowd on Thursday, May 7, with presentations from 34 residents who have taken part in the program’s research block in the last two academic years.

“The 2015 UCSD Internal Medicine Resident Research Symposium was an incredible success,” said program director Simerjot Jassal, MD. “It was a terrific opportunity to showcase the amazing scholarly work our residents have been doing under the outstanding mentorship of our committed faculty,” she said.

Of the 34 residents taking part in the symposium, six were selected to present at Medicine Grand Rounds on June 3 and June 10. Pictured above, they are (from left) Drs. Kevin Shah, Noel Lee, Nanu Das, Julie Chen, Michele Pham and Darrin Wong.

More than 80 residents and faculty members attended.

“I was thrilled with the turnout,” Dr. Jassal said. “The enthusiasm in the room was palpable.”

Dr. Schafer Boeder presenting his research.In the photo at left, Dr. Schafer Boeder discusses his research project.

The Department of Medicine and Helen M. Ranney Distinguished Professor and Chair Wolfgang Dillmann, MD, supported the event. Its purpose is to inspire future projects and create more mentorship opportunities.

“I am so proud of our residents,” Dr. Jassal said.

Golgi Trafficking Controlled by G-Proteins

A family of proteins called G proteins are a recognized component of the communication system the human body uses to sense hormones and other chemicals in the bloodstream and to send messages to cells. In work that further illuminates how cells work, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered a new role for G proteins that may have relevance to halting solid tumor cancer metastasis.

The study is reported online April 9 in Developmental Cell.

“Our work provides the first direct evidence that G proteins are signaling on membranes inside cells, not just at the cell surface as has been widely believed for several decades,” said Pradipta Ghosh, MD, associate professor and senior author. “This is significant because the G-protein pathway is a target of at least 30 percent of all current drugs on the market.” … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Pradipta Ghosh, MDDr. Pradipta Ghosh, is associate professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology.

Visit the Ghosh Laboratory website

See Full Text of Article in Developmental Cell (UC San Diego only)

More Anti-inflammatory Genes Mean Longer Lifespans for Mammals

Mammal species with higher copy numbers of siglec receptor genes have longer maximum lifespans —

We age in part thanks to “friendly fire” from the immune system — inflammation and chemically active molecules called reactive oxygen species that help fight infection, but also wreak molecular havoc over time, contributing to frailty, disability and disease. The CD33rSiglec family of proteins are known to help protect our cells from becoming inflammatory collateral damage, prompting researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine to ask whether CD33rSiglecs might help mammals live longer, too. …Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

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)