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.

Joachim H. Ix Named Chief of Nephrology-Hypertension

January 2, 2014

Announcement from Wolfgang H. Dillmann, MD
Helen M. Ranney Distinguished Professor and Chair

Dr. Joachim Ix

Dr. Joachim Ix

I am very pleased to announce that Dr. Joachim H. Ix, who has served as interim chief of the Division of Nephrology-Hypertension since Dr. Roland Blantz retired in 2012, has been selected as the new chief of the division. His new appointment was effective December 17, 2013.

Dr. Ix has managed the division with effectiveness and wisdom during his year as interim chief, balancing and advancing its activities during a time that has brought particularly difficult fiscal and managerial challenges to all of us. I am confident that the Division of Nephrology-Hypertension will continue to grow in clinical and academic stature with his leadership.

Joachim H. Ix, MD, MAS, is professor of medicine and professor of family and preventive medicine at UC San Diego. He is active as a clinical specialist in the diagnosis and management of kidney disease patients at both UC San Diego Health System and the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System (VASDHS). He directed the VASDHS chronic kidney disease clinic in 2008-2009 and subsequently the VASDHS Dialysis Unit from 2009-2013.

A creative and productive clinical trialist and epidemiologist, Dr. Ix investigates the contributions of altered calcium and phosphorus homeostasis to cardiovascular disease in patients with kidney disease. He has more than 140 published articles in peer-reviewed journals. His active National Institutes of Health funded studies include a 5-year U01 cooperative project, begun in September of this year, in which he will conduct a phase 2 clinical trial to test the efficacy of nicotinamide (vitamin B3) on phosphorus homeostasis and other components of mineral metabolism in CKD patients. He is also PI of a recently funded R01 award evaluating the contributions of kidney tubule dysfunction and injury to progression of kidney disease and cardiovascular disease, and was recently funded as PI of an American Heart Association Established Investigator Award.

He was elected a fellow of the American Society of Nephrology in 2010 and is associate editor of the American Journal of Kidney Diseases, a standing member of the NIH Study Section on Kidney Nutrition Obesity and Diabetes (KNOD) and a member of the SPRINT Trial Chronic Kidney Disease Advisory Group.

Dr. Ix is a dedicated teacher and mentor and an active contributor to his division’s instructional efforts at all levels, including the nephrology fellowship program and the School of Medicine curriculum. In 2010, he received the Excellence in Teaching Award in recognition for outstanding teaching contributions in the third-year Medicine Core Clerkship course.

Dr. Ix earned his Bachelor of Science degree at UC San Diego and his medical degree at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. He received his specialty training, nephrology fellowship training, and MAS in biostatistics and epidemiology at UC San Francisco. He joined the UC San Diego faculty in 2007.

Dr. Seth Field Elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation

Dr. Seth FieldSeth J. Field, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, has been elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI).

ASCI membership is a distinction that recognizes the nation’s most outstanding physician-scientists.

“Seth is a highly innovative biomedical researcher, a caring clinician, and a teacher who devotes himself to mentoring learners at all levels,” said Wolfgang Dillmann, MD, Professor and Interim Chair of the Department of Medicine, who supported Dr. Field’s nomination. “He embodies the ideals of the ASCI.”

“It has been a pleasure to watch Seth’s career take off and succeed at UCSD,” said Jerrold M. Olefsky, MD, who proposed Dr. Field’s nomination. “He’s an outstanding and incisive scientist who still manages to be an exceptional clinician and teacher.”

Dr. Olefsky is Associate Dean for Scientific Affairs and Distinguished Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Dr. Field has earned international recognition and major extramural funding for his original research. His investigations focus on the metabolism and signaling pathways of phosphoinositides, a group of lipid signaling molecules implicated in the pathophysiology of a range of human diseases.  |  Visit his laboratory website

“His findings,” said Dr. Dillmann, “have catalyzed a major paradigm shift in our understanding of the export of proteins from the cell.”

In 2009, Dr. Field and coworkers discovered that the Golgi protein GOLPH3 binds to phosphatidylinositol-4-phosphate in the trans-Golgi membranes and connects the Golgi to F-actin via binding the unconventional myosin MYO18A. The resulting tensile force plays an important role in the secretory pathway by drawing vesicles and tubules from the Golgi. In the process, the Golgi apparatus acquires its characteristic stretched and flattened shape.

Dr. Field and colleagues reported the finding in the journal Cell in October 2009. The discovery, announced in a UC San Diego press release, earned worldwide attention.  |  Read the report in Cell (free full text)

Now, in one of many subsequent studies, Dr. Field is examining how GOLPH3 may function to cause cancer and whether there are potential therapeutic targets in the GOLPH3 pathway. GOLPH3 has been identified as a cancer gene commonly associated with human cancers, including breast cancer.

This work is supported by a 5-year, $3.8 million Era of Hope Scholar Award for Breast Cancer Research he received last year from the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command.

Dr. Field collaborated with Judith A. Varner, PhD, and coworkers in the tumor inflammation studies reported in the June 14, 2011, issue of the journal Cancer Cell. They have identified a single point at which myeloid cells are triggered to enter cancer cells and promote tumor growth: the PI-3 kinase-gamma enzyme. The report, pinpointing what may be an important new therapeutic target for cancer treatments, was highlighted in a mini-review in the same journal.  |  Read the report in Cancer Cell (free full text)

Dr. Field has also collaborated with Dr. Ronald Evans and coworkers in the Gene Expression Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in defining a novel negative feedback pathway for insulin signaling. The results identify a new target area for the development of insulin-sensitizing drugs.

In 2008, Dr. Field was honored with an NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, a five-year, $ 2.3-million research grant. Recipients of the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award are selected for the exceptional creativity and potential impact of their research.

In an earlier honor that brought major funding, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund granted Dr. Field a Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences in 2004. The five-year, $500,000 career awards are given to support outstanding postdoctoral researchers in their transition from advanced training to academic faculty service. The funding supported Dr. Field’s project, “Comprehensive analysis of phosphoinositide function.”

An active teacher in the Department of Medicine’s education programs, Dr. Field is also a member of the teaching and research faculty of the UC San Diego Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program. In addition, he is an investigator in the Cancer Biology program at the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center.

Dr. Field received his MD degree from Harvard Medical School and his PhD in Genetics in the laboratory of Michael E. Greenberg, PhD, at Harvard. After his internship and residency in internal medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, he completed his fellowship in endocrinology at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

He returned to Harvard for his postdoctoral research training in cell biology and systems biology in the laboratory of Lewis C. Cantley, PhD. In 2005, he joined the UC San Diego Department of Medicine faculty as an assistant professor in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Dr. Field and the other honorees for 2011, including Dr. Maike Sander from UC San Diego’s Department of Pediatrics, were introduced April 16 at the annual joint meeting of the ASCI and the Association of American Physicians in Chicago.

With the addition of Dr. Field, the ASCI now includes 63 current members of the faculty of the Department of Medicine.

Moving Ahead With the Leadership of Interim Chair Wolfgang H. Dillmann, M.D.

Wolfgang Dillmann, MDWolfgang H. Dillmann, MD, a respected division chief and internationally recognized physician-scientist, assumes leadership of the Department of Medicine this week as Dr. Ken Kaushansky departs for his new position as Senior Vice President for Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine at Stony Brook University in New York.

“Wolf has made major contributions to the Department of Medicine for decades, in the realms of science, teaching and clinical care,” said Dr. Kaushansky.

“Now, by taking on the challenging role as interim Chair, he will make even greater contributions to the students, residents, fellows and faculty who call the department home.”

Dr. Dillmann, Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, has served the Department for many years in positions on the Finance Committee and the Space Committee.

Dr. Joe Witztum, Professor of Medicine and Dr Dillmann’s longtime colleague in the division, described him as a dedicated and thoughtful leader, a superb clinician, and a true physician-scientist. “I’m not surprised that he was asked to be Interim Chair,” he said.

Dr. Tom Savides Named Executive Vice Chair

New positions in the Department of Medicine leadership team will support Dr. Dillmann in his interim role. Dr. Tom Savides, Professor of Clinical Medicine and Interim Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology, will serve as Executive Vice Chair.

Dr. Savides also holds the positions of Clinical Service Chief for Gastroenterology, Director of the Gastroenterology Fellowship Program, and Director of Advanced GI Endoscopy.

Dr. Richard Gallo, Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics and Chief of the Division of Dermatology, will serve as Vice Chair for Laboratory Research and co-chair, with Dr. Robert Schooley, of the department’s Space Committee.

Dr. Schooley, Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, will continue as Vice Chair for Academic Affairs.

As before, Drs. Elaine Muchmore, Dan Bouland, Francis Gabbai and Ravi Mehta will serve as the vice chairs for Education, Clinical Operations, VASDHS Affairs, and Clinical Research, respectively. Maureen O’Connor is Vice Chair for Administration.

About Dr. Dillmann

“Wolf is an old-fashioned physician-scientist,” said Dr. Witztum, who joined the faculty within months of Dr. Dillmann in 1979. “In the old days, we used to talk about the ‘triple threat’ – physician, scientist, and teacher. It’s hard to do all three, particularly these days, and Wolf still really does it well.”

In his clinical activities, Dr. Dillmann specializes in endocrine diseases, especially thyroid disease. His research activities are directed at endocrine and metabolic influence on cardiovascular function.

Over the years, he has maintained a deep involvement in clinical work despite the expansion in his other roles. “He’s a superb endocrinologist and internal medicine doctor,” Dr. Witztum said.

“He’s dedicated to providing good clinical services,” he said. “He works very hard to develop clinical programs, particularly for the care of diabetic and metabolic syndrome patients.”

In recent months, Dr. Dillmann has led the division through a successful recertification of the Endocrine Fellowship Training Program. He is an active teacher in the Department of Medicine’s core courses in the School of Medicine and he serves as mentor for postdoctoral fellows and medical students.

Dr. Dillmann’s research focused initially on thyroid disease and its effects on heart function. His work has expanded in recent years to examine the biochemical and cellular properties of heart cells and the ways in which they are affected by thyroid hormone and glucose metabolism.

“He has become an international expert on cardiac metabolism in general,” Dr. Witztum said. “His studies are of interest not only to endocrinologists but also to cardiologists who are interested in the basic mechanisms by which the heart works.”

Dr. Dillmann is a member of the Diabetes and Endocrinology Research Center (DERC), the Institute of Engineering in Medicine, and the Cardiac Mechanics Research Group at UCSD.

He serves as reviewer for a number of major scientific journals including the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Endocrinology, American Journal of Physiology, the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Circulation, and Circulation Research.

View Dr. Dillmann’s list of publications (PubMed)

Dr. Dillmann was born in Germany. After he received his MD degree from the University of Munich in 1970, he came to the United States to do his medical internship at City Hospital Center, Elmhurst, Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City.

He completed his residency training in 1972 and his endocrinology and metabolism fellowship training in 1975 at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York. After a year as Assistant Professor of Medicine there, he moved to the University of Minnesota, where he held the position of Assistant Professor of Medicine from 1976 through 1978.

In 1979, Dr. Dillmann joined the UC San Diego School of Medicine faculty as Assistant Professor in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1981 and to Professor in 1987. In 2005, he became chief of the division.

He is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians.