TAG: "Awards & honors"

Berkeley discoveries named top 2013 breakthroughs


Cancer immunotherapy earns Science magazine’s top spot.

James Allison in 1993, when he was conducting research at UC Berkeley on a promising immunotherapy now reaching fruition. (Photo by Jane Scherr)

James Allison in 1993, when he was conducting research at UC Berkeley on a promising immunotherapy now reaching fruition.

Science magazine’s Breakthrough of the Year for 2013 – cancer immunotherapy – emerged from work conducted at UC Berkeley in the 1990s, while a 2012 UC Berkeley discovery was named one of nine runners up for the annual honor.

The Breakthrough of the Year and runners up were announced in the Dec. 20 issue of the journal, the main publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Cancer immunotherapy earned its top spot, according to a Science article by Jennifer Couzin-Frankel, “because this year, clinical trials have cemented its potential in patients and swayed even the skeptics. The field hums with stories of lives extended: the woman with a grapefruit-size tumor in her lung from melanoma, alive and healthy 13 years later; the 6-year-old near death from leukemia, now in third grade and in remission; the man with metastatic kidney cancer whose disease continued fading away even after treatment stopped.”

Among the runners up was a gene-editing technique called CRISPR that “touched off an explosion of research in 2013,” Science wrote. The technique, discovered in 2012 by Jennifer Doudna and Martin Jinek of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at UC Berkeley and Emmanuelle Charpentier of the Laboratory for Molecular Infection Medicine-Sweden, allows very precise manipulation of genes and may make gene therapy a realistic alternative for patients with genetic diseases.

Read more

For more health news, visit UC Health, subscribe by email or follow us on Flipboard.

CATEGORY: NewsComments Off

UC Davis research named a top 10 scientific advance in autism for 2013


Study focused on gastrointestinal problems in children with autism.

Virginia Chaidez, UC Davis

Virginia Chaidez, UC Davis

A study by UC Davis MIND Institute researchers is among Autism Speaks’ top 10 scientific advances of 2013.

Each year, the international autism and science advocacy organization documents the progress made toward discovering causes of and treatments for autism spectrum disorder, identifying the top investigations contributing to better understanding of the condition.

The MIND Institute study, “Gastrointestinal Problems in Children with Autism, Developmental Delays or Typical Development,” was published online Nov. 6 in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

It found that children with autism experience gastrointestinal (GI) upsets such as constipation, diarrhea and sensitivity to foods six-to-eight times more often than do children who are developing typically, and that those symptoms are related to behavioral problems, including the social withdrawal, irritability and repetitive behaviors that are hallmarks of the condition.

The research was led by  Virginia Chaidez, a postdoctoral trainee in the UC Davis Department of Public Health Sciences when the investigation was conducted who now is an analyst for UC Cal Fresh Nutrition Education Program state office.

“This recognition is very humbling, considering the caliber of research and investigators nationwide,” Chaidez said. “And it is a wonderful affirmation that my work may in some way improve the lives of children with autism. I hope we can move to the next steps of figuring out why gastrointestinal problems occur so frequently in children with autism to find the most effective treatments.”

Chaidez collaborated with Irva Hertz-Picciotto, chief of the Division of Environmental and Occupational Health in the Department of Public Health Sciences, and Robin Hansen, director of the Center of Excellence for Developmental Disabilities at the MIND Institute and chief of the Division of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics in the Department of Pediatrics.

The research was conducted as a component of the Northern California-based Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment (CHARGE) Study, of which Hertz-Picciotto is principal investigator, between April 2003 and May 2011.

Read more

For more health news, visit UC Health, subscribe by email or follow us on Flipboard.

CATEGORY: NewsComments Off

Schekman receives Nobel Medal in Stockholm ceremony


UC’s 13th Nobel laureate in medicine calls for more support of basic research.

Newly minted Nobel laureate Randy Schekman used his Nobel acceptance speech Dec. 10 in Stockholm to encourage more support for basic research, the “freedom of inquiry (that) nourished the careers of today’s laureates,” he said.

Schekman, a UC Berkeley professor of molecular and cell biology, delivered his brief remarks at the lavish Nobel banquet as he accepted the 2013 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology on behalf of his two co-winners: Thomas Südhof of Stanford University and James Rothman of Yale University.

Since the prize was announced Oct. 7, Schekman has used the spotlight to push for increased funding of basic research – the wellspring of his own seminal discoveries in yeast – and of public universities, which were underrepresented in this year’s American Nobel lineup. Of the nine American Nobelists, Schekman was the only one from a public institution.

“I wish particularly to acknowledge the Nobel Foundation for its recognition of basic science,” he said. “This year’s laureates in the natural sciences reflect the value of curiosity-driven inquiry, unfettered by top-down management of goals and methods.”

Schekman was referring to the increasing desire of U.S. funding agencies “to want to manage discovery with expansive so-called strategic science initiatives at the expense of the individual creative exercise we celebrate today.”

The banquet was the crowning event of a weeklong series of celebrations honoring the new Nobelists, during which Schekman delivered a lengthier speech on Dec. 7 about his research on yeast secretion. This work, which Schekman pursued purely out of curiousity, turned out to be critical to the success of the biotechnology industry.

Schekman traveled to Stockholm with his wife, Nancy Walls, their son and daughter and his father. During his banquet acceptance speech, he expressed appreciation for a broad range of friends and colleagues.

“I view this occasion as one of the great moments of my life, one that I am thrilled to share with my wife and children, my father, and family, friends, colleagues and the students of mine who made this day possible,” he said.

More information:

CATEGORY: NewsComments Off

UC Davis researcher receives award at World Stem Cell Summit


Paul Knoepfler receives National Advocacy Award.

Paul Knoepfler (left) with Bernard Siegel, executive director of the Genetics Policy Institute, receives the National Advocacy Award at this week's World Stem Cell Summit.

Paul Knoepfler (left) with Bernard Siegel, executive director of the Genetics Policy Institute, receives the National Advocacy Award at this week's World Stem Cell Summit.

Paul Knoepfler, associate professor of cell biology and human anatomy at UC Davis School of Medicine, was honored this week at the World Stem Cell Summit in San Diego for his stem cell advocacy and awareness efforts.

Knoepfler, who also is an associate investigator at the Institute for Pediatric Regenerative Medicine at ShrinersHospital for Children Northern California, received this year’s ‘National Advocacy Award’ from the Genetics Policy Institute. He writes a well-known stem cell blog, which is a platform for explaining the complexities of regenerative medicine as well as way to advocate on behalf of those interested in stem cell treatments.

In a special supplement to Stem Cells and Development, Knoepfler writes in the article “Key Action Items for the Stem Cell Field Looking to 2014″ about building momentum behind stem cells, both for their impact as transformative basic-science discoveries and their potential for translation to clinical medicine.

At the same time, he outlines several critical challenges, including “stem cell tourism,” the complex balance between innovation and regulatory/FDA compliance, and the need to educate physicians and patients about stem cell therapies.

Knoepfler’s research at his lab in Sacramento focuses on how stem cell behavior is controlled during normal embryonic development as well as during healing and regeneration. He studies how cellular control systems go awry in developmental disorders and cancer, and he is using leading-edge genomics technology to better understand why stem cells behave the way they do and trying determine how cell behavior can be directed for safe and effective clinical use.

In addition to research, Knoepfler has encouraged patient advocacy and public awareness about stem cell science. He created his own annual “Stem Cell Person of the Year” award to recognize people who have made an outstanding difference in the field of stem cell-based cellular and regenerative medicine. The honor includes a $1,000 check, which Knoepfler funds himself to help create more excitement about stem cell science.

He is also the author of a new book about regenerative medicine, “Stem Cells: An Insider’s Guide,” which was published earlier this year.

View original article

For more health news, visit UC Health, subscribe by email or follow us on Flipboard.

 

CATEGORY: NewsComments Off

Award recognizes impact of anthropologist’s work on human organs trade


UC Berkeley’s Nancy Scheper-Hughes honored for watchdog role.

UC Berkeley anthropologist Nancy Scheper-Hughes is shown here talking with Alberty Alfonso da Silva in the Recife, Brazil, slum he called home before after being transported to South Africa to sell his kidney to a recipient flown there from New York City. (Photo by John Maier)

UC Berkeley anthropologist Nancy Scheper-Hughes is shown here talking with Alberty Alfonso da Silva in the Recife, Brazil, slum he called home before after being transported to South Africa to sell his kidney to a recipient flown there from New York City. (Photo by John Maier)

UC Berkeley anthropologist Nancy Scheper-Hughes has been honored by the American Anthropological Association with its first ever Anthropology in Public Policy Award for her trailblazing work shedding light on the dark practice of human organs trafficking.

The award, recognizing anthropologists whose work has had a significant and positive influence on government decision-making, was announced at a recent American Anthropological Association conference in Chicago.

In 1999, Scheper-Hughes, director of UC Berkeley’s medical anthropology program, helped found the Berkeley Organs Watch project. It monitors the organ-transplant trade for abuses among the transnational networks that connect patients, transplant surgeons, brokers, medical facilities and live donors, who often live in the poorest parts of the world.

“When I began the Organs Watch project, it was heretical to suggest that human trafficking for organs was not just a hyperbolic metaphor of human exploitation, but was actually happening in many parts of the world,” Scheper-Hughes said in her acceptance remarks.

But the project generated international headlines, particularly as Scheper-Hughes has called for more accountability from the medical profession in the field of medical anthropology. She also has been asked to testify before national and international governmental and medical panels, and has helped law enforcement agencies uncover illicit organs trafficking around the globe.

In recent years, Scheper-Hughes has advised the European Union, the United Nations and the Human Trafficking Office of the World Health Organization. She has also testified before Congress, the Council of Europe and the British House of Lords. In addition, she has consulted on several documentary as well as commercial films exploring organ trafficking.

In accepting the award, the self-proclaimed “agent provocateur” acknowledged that the complex social issues that anthropologists explore often have no single, simple solution, and one answer can prompt a new problem.

“So, yes,” Scheper-Hughes said in her speech, “I did help interrupt kidney trafficking in Moldova, only to have the international brokers use my Organs Watch website … to set up a robust scheme in illicit transplants using Afro-Brazilian men from the slums of Recife to service Israeli and European transplant tourists to South African hospitals … And, yes, I contributed to the ban on the use of executed prisoners in China as organ suppliers, only to learn that new organ suppliers could be found in China among rural village girls and Vietnamese immigrants.”

Scheper-Hughes said agent provocateurs must continue “to put their bodies, as well as their words, on the line, and work on behalf of communities and populations under siege…”

View original article

For more health news, visit UC Health, subscribe by email or follow us on Flipboard.

CATEGORY: NewsComments Off

34 from UC elected fellows of AAAS


Fellows include several in health sciences.

UC Irvine's Leslie Thompson is one of 34 new University of California-affiliated fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

UC Irvine's Leslie Thompson is one of 34 new University of California-affiliated fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

This year’s class of 388 new fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science includes 34 affiliated with the University of California.

AAAS fellows are honored by their peers for scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. New fellows affiliated with UC for 2014 are:

UC Berkeley

  • Kevin Edward Healy, engineering

UC Davis

  • Donald M. Bers, medical sciences
  • John P. Capitanio, psychology
  • Stephen P. Cramer, chemistry (also Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)
  • Steven C. Currall, societal impacts of science and engineering
  • Katayoon (Katie) Dehesh, biological sciences
  • Fu-Tong Liu, medical sciences
  • Kevin C. Kent Lloyd, medical sciences
  • Julin N. Maloof, biological sciences
  • Frederick J. Meyers, medical sciences
  • James N. Seiber, agriculture, food and renewable resources

UC Irvine

  • Leslie Michels Thompson, neuroscience
  • Qing Nie, mathematics

UCLA

  • John A. Agnew, geology and geography
  • Gordon L. Fain, neuroscience
  • Oliver Hankinson, biological sciences

UC San Diego

  • Ronald S. Burton, biological sciences
  • Seth M. Cohen, chemistry
  • Jean-Bernard Minster, geology and geography
  • Bing Ren, biological sciences
  • Shankar Subramaniam, engineering
  • Mark H. Thiemens, atmosperic and hydrospheric sciences

UC San Francisco

  • Allan Balmain, biological sciences
  • Troy Edward Daniels, dentistry and oral health sciences

UC Santa Barbara

  • Glenn H. Fredrickson, engineering
  • Glenn E. Lucas, engineering
  • Scott T. Grafton, neuroscience
  • Craig Montell, neuroscience
  • William W. Murdoch, biological sciences

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

  • Stephen P. Cramer, chemistry (also UC Davis)
  • Norman Marvin Edelstein, chemistry
  • Glen Lambertson, physics

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

  • Kenton J. Moody, chemistry

Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • Steven D. Conradson, chemistry
  • Bryan F. Henson, chemistry

AAAS members who have made scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications and who have been continuous members for the four years preceding their nomination are eligible for election as AAAS fellows.

Three current AAAS members who were previously elected AAAS fellows may nominate new AAAS fellows, though only one of the three sponsors may share the nominee’s affiliated institution and each AAAS fellow may sponsor no more than two nominees each year.

CATEGORY: SpotlightComments Off

UCSF receives gold-standard recognition for animal research program


Reflects university’s commitment to highest ethical standards in animal care, treatment.

MouseUC San Francisco has received the gold-standard international re-accreditation for its animal research program, recognizing the university’s commitment to the highest ethical standards in animal care and treatment.

The commendation by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) is based on an evaluation of the entire UCSF program for animal care and use. It follows a similar, unannounced assessment in June by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which found no concerns in UCSF’s animal research program.

Read more

For more health news, visit UC Health, subscribe by email or follow us on Flipboard.

CATEGORY: NewsComments Off

UC Santa Cruz team wins cancer genomics competition


Bioniformatics team ranked first in challenge to predict genetic networks in breast cancer.

Members of Josh Stuart's lab group who worked on the breast cancer challenge were (from left): Chris Wong, Artem Sokolov, Kiley Graim, Evan Paull, Adrian Bivol and Dan Carlin.

Members of Josh Stuart's lab group who worked on the breast cancer challenge were (from left): Chris Wong, Artem Sokolov, Kiley Graim, Evan Paull, Adrian Bivol and Dan Carlin.

A team of bioinformatics experts at UC Santa Cruz made the most accurate predictions in a competitive challenge to identify signaling networks in breast cancer cells. The results of the HPN-DREAM breast cancer network inference challenge were announced today at a conference in Toronto.

“Our goal is to understand the underlying biology of cancer cells and, specifically, how genes interact with each other. The DREAM Challenge was an opportunity to test our expertise in a competitive environment,” said Artem Sokolov, a postdoctoral scholar who works with Josh Stuart, the Jack Baskin Professor of Biomolecular Engineering in UCSC’s Baskin School of Engineering. Sokolov led the team of researchers in Stuart’s lab who worked on the challenge.

Such competitions have long been used in the field of bioinformatics to identify the best computational methods for solving complex problems in biology. The specific challenge tackled by the UCSC team involved identifying cellular signaling pathways in cancer cells. Pathway analysis has been a major focus of research in Stuart’s lab, which is involved in several large cancer genomics research projects. Cancer is a disease of the genome, caused by genetic changes that lead to uncontrolled cell growth and proliferation. These genetic changes often disrupt signaling pathways that involve interactions between cellular proteins.

Read more

For more health news, visit UC Health, subscribe by email or follow us on Flipboard.

CATEGORY: NewsComments Off

UC instructors named among top 20 forensic pathology professors online


List includes UC Davis’ Bennet Omalu and UCSF’s Judy Melinek.

Bennet Omalu, UC Davis

Bennet Omalu, UC Davis

Bennet Omalu, an associate clinical professor of pathology at UC Davis who discovered the neurological disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in retired professional football players, was named among the top 20 forensic pathology professors online by ForensicsColleges.com. He is also chief medical examiner of San Joaquin County and is a consulting forensic pathologist/neuropathologist.

Judy Melinek, a board certified forensic pathologist and associate clinical professor of pathology at UC San Francisco, also made the list.

ForensicsColleges.com recognized forensic pathologists who have established their expertise in the field, are shaping the future of the discipline and are educating the next generation of forensic pathologists.

The organization compiled their list of the top forensic pathology professors in the nation, selecting experts who are associated with a forensic pathology program; have extensive publications in peer-reviewed journals; are affiliated with the American Academy of Forensic Sciences or the National Association of Medical Examiners; and share their research, news and other information online with students as well as the public.

Forensic pathologists rely on their medical and investigative training to determine cause of injury, death or disease, and to recommend whether law enforcement should pursue a criminal investigation.

View original article

For more health news, visit UC Health, subscribe by email or follow us on Flipboard.

CATEGORY: NewsComments Off

Educational program gets $100K gift from Breakthrough Prize winner


UCSF biological sciences program teaches graduate students interdisciplinary skills.

Joseph DeRisi, UC San Francisco

Joseph DeRisi, UC San Francisco

A UC San Francisco graduate program in complex biology led by Joseph DeRisi, Ph.D., is being lauded for its creativity with a $100,000 gift.

David Botstein, Ph.D., a genetics pioneer at Princeton University, is using some of his award money from the inaugural Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences to help advance DeRisi’s program.

The UCSF integrated program in Complex Biological Sciences teaches first-year graduate students – only some of whom have studied biology, while others may have studied physics or computer science – how to cross disciplinary boundaries to answer biological questions. To succeed, they must pool their expertise and range across disciplines many of them do not yet know.

Botstein, who developed methods that led to the discovery of disease genes such as Huntington’s and BRCA1, is the director of Princeton’s Lewis-Siegler Institute. He was one of 11 recipients of the inaugural $3 million Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences awarded earlier this year by Internet entrepreneurs Yuri Milner, Sergey Brin, Anne Wojcicki and Mark Zuckerberg, as well as UCSF alumni Art Levinson and Priscilla Chan.

In addition to the $100,000 gift to UCSF, Botstein has pledged similar awards to advanced technology courses in biology at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Davidson College.

View original article

For more health news, visit UC Health, subscribe by email or follow us on Flipboard.

CATEGORY: NewsComments Off

UC Health at a glance


UC Health comprises the University of California’s clinical and health professional education arms. UC Health combines the strength of UC’s patient care, teaching and research. UC has the nation’s largest health sciences instructional program with more than 14,000 students, while its five medical centers form a nearly $7 billion enterprise providing broad access to world-class, specialized care.

Find out more in this fact sheet.

CATEGORY: NewsComments Off

Professor awarded for efforts to improve military personnel medical care


UC Davis’ Kenneth Kizer receives Letterman award.

Kenneth Kizer, UC Davis

Kenneth Kizer, UC Davis

Kenneth W. Kizer, an internationally recognized health-care thought leader, change agent, and quality improvement and patient-safety advocate, received the 2013 Major Jonathan Letterman Medical Excellence Award from the National Museum of Civil War Medicine for advancing medical processes and improving patient outcomes and quality of life. He accepted the award in Bethesda, Md., on October 24.The orphan of a World War II veteran, Kizer overcame a severely disadvantaged childhood to become a highly accomplished physician and health-care leader, achieving the extremely rare distinction of being elected to both the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Public Administration.

Kizer is a distinguished professor at UC Davis School of Medicine and Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, and founding director of the Institute for Population Health Improvement. Under his leadership, the institute is working to address education, income, location and other critical factors that challenge the health and well-being of individuals and their communities. Established in 2011, the institute is leading a wide array of initiatives, from improving health care quality and health information exchange to advancing surveillance and prevention programs for heart disease and cancer.

Read more

For more health news, visit UC Health, subscribe by email or follow us on Flipboard.

CATEGORY: NewsComments Off

Match Day at UC San Diego School of Medicine

Click video for closed captions, larger view

Connect with UC

UC for California   Follow UC News on Twitter   Follow UC on Facebook   Subscribe to UC Health RSS feed

Event Calendar

<<   April 2014   >>
S M T W T F S
12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930

UC Davis: Investigating liver cancer disparities

Click video for closed captions, larger view

Contact

We welcome your ideas and feedback. To subscribe or send comments or suggestions, please email alec.rosenberg@ucop.edu.