Highlights 2016

Tuszynski Wins Reeve-Irvine Medal

Mark H. Tuszynski MD PhD

Mark H. Tuszynski, MD, PhD, professor in the Department of Neurosciences and director of the Translational Neuroscience Institute at UC San Diego, received the Reeve-Irvine Medal for Spinal Cord Injury Research for his contributions to spinal cord repair research. The award is named, in part, after the late actor Christopher Reeve.

National Academy of Medicine Adds 3 Faculty

Three UC San Diego School of Medicine faculty were elected to the National Academy of Medicine: Napoleone Ferrara, MD, Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology and Pathology and senior deputy director for basic science at Moores Cancer Center; Christopher K. Glass, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and cellular and molecular medicine; and Roberto Malinow, MD, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Neurosciences and Neurobiology and the Shiley Endowed Chair in Alzheimer’s Disease Research in Honor of Dr. Leon Thal. There are now 30 faculty who are members of NAM.

Maysent Becomes CEO of UC San Diego Health

Patty Maysent CEO

Patty Maysent was officially named CEO of UC San Diego Health. Maysent joined the university in 2012 and served as chief of staff and chief strategy officer to CEO Paul Viviano before his departure in 2015.

Chiba University Partners for Immunology Research

UC San Diego School of Medicine and Chiba University School of Medicine in Japan established a fiveyear, $2 million partnership to create a new collaborative research center to investigate the most promising aspects of immunology, especially the area of mucosal immunology, and to speed development of clinical applications.

Microbiome Initiative Launches


The UC San Diego Center for Microbiome Innovation, led by Rob Knight, PhD, professor of pediatrics and computer science and engineering, was created in late 2015 to better understand microbiomes — collections of microbes that live on and around us — and harness them for human and environmental health. In May 2016, the center was named a key participant in the White House’s National Microbiome Initiative. Knight, Pieter Dorrestein, PhD, professor of pharmacy, pharmacology and pediatrics, and Embriette Hyde, PhD, assistant project scientist and manager of the American Gut Project, attended the launch event in Washington, D.C.

West Senior Emergency Care Unit

Local philanthropists Gary and Mary West provided $11.8 million to create a state-of-the-art senior emergency care unit within the Emergency Department at Jacobs Medical Center. The Gary and Mary West Senior Emergency Care Unit will enhance care for older adults and enable a multi-year medical research initiative in partnership with the West Health Institute to support their mission of making successful aging a reality for seniors in San Diego and the nation.

Martinez Named to Cancer Moonshot Panel

Maria Elena Martinez PhD

María Elena Martínez, PhD, professor of family medicine and public health, co-leader of the Reducing Cancer Disparities research program, and Sam M. Walton Endowed Chair for Cancer Research at Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health, was named to a Blue Ribbon Panel to help inform scientific direction at the National Cancer Institute for Vice President Joe Biden’s National Cancer Moonshot Initiative.

Largest Autism Study Ever

Experts at the UC San Diego Autism Center of Excellence will be part of the largest autism study ever undertaken in the United States — an effort to collect information and DNA from 50,000 individuals, ages 3 to 100, with the neurodevelopmental disorder. The effort, sponsored by the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative, involves 21 leading research institutions across the country, each recruiting participants and collecting data.

ACTRI Opens Its Doors

ACTRI Ribbon Cutting

The Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute — a seven-story, 359,000-square-foot edifice on the east campus — opened its doors. Supported by a $10 million donation from Steve and Lisa Altman, the ACTRI is part of a national consortium created to energize bench-tobedside efforts.

New Liver Disease Research Center

Rohit Loomba MD

Roughly one-quarter of all Americans have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a chronic condition that can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver failure. Combining basic science, biomarkers, imaging and clinical efforts, the School of Medicine launched a new NAFLD Research Center, under the direction of Rohit Loomba, MD, to better understand the disease and develop treatments where none currently exist.