Skip to main content
Office of the Vice Chancellor

Office of the Vice Chancellor

Recent news and upcoming activities

UC Davis faculty share cancer research innovation with partners in Madrid

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers take center stage this week in Madrid during the second in a series of workshops designed to enhance cultural, academic, scientific and business relations between UC Davis and Madrid.

Ralph de Vere White Ralph de Vere White

Cancer center director Ralph de Vere White will share the podium with Primo Lara, Julie Sutcliffe and Luis Carvajal in presentations on cancer imaging and diagnosis and improving patient outcomes in oncology through clinical and translational research initiatives. The Cancer and Regenerative Medicine Life Sciences Workshop runs June 12-14.

The global partnership was organized by the UC Davis School of Education and Office of Research with the Madrid Network, comprising more than 750 businesses, research centers and universities. The network, focused on innovation, represents the Madrid region’s government, Comunidad de Madrid, in the agreement with UC Davis.

De Vere White, a distinguished professor of urology, will give an overview on the comprehensive cancer center and its role in improving survival rates in patients with advanced disease. Specifically, he said, he will focus on the center’s partnership with Jackson Laboratories (JAX West), an NCI-designated cancer research facility, to find more targeted treatments for bladder cancer using a mouse model capable of growing human tumors.

De Vere White said he hopes to interest counterparts in Spain to cooperate in research that can advance and quicken the pace of development and clinical use of more precise cancer therapies. He likened the potential of the collaboration to the international approach to finding drugs to control the virus that causes AIDS.

Primo “Lucky” Lara, a UC Davis oncologist and associate director for translational research at the cancer center, will talk about translational early-phase clinical trials at UC Davis and discuss the lung cancer mouse model research with JAX West. He also will describe some of the cancer center’s stem cell research. Julie Sutcliffe, associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, will discuss her research into new tracers for use in PET scans that more precisely target cancers. And Luis Carvajal Carmona, an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, will talk about cancer evolution and clinical applications.

Several cancer specialists and researchers from Madrid also will give presentations during the workshop. Among the speakers to open the meeting will be Paul Dodd, associate vice chancellor in the UC Davis Office of Research.

The first workshop was held in December 2013 focusing on energy renewables and energy policy. The partnership was launched one year ago in an agreement signed by UC Davis Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Ralph J. Hexter.

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center
UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated center serving the Central Valley and inland Northern California, a region of more than 6 million people. Its specialists provide compassionate, comprehensive care for more than 10,000 adults and children every year, and access to more than 150 clinical trials at any given time. Its innovative research program engages more than 280 scientists at UC Davis, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Jackson Laboratory (JAX West), whose scientific partnerships advance discovery of new tools to diagnose and treat cancer. Through the Cancer Care Network, UC Davis collaborates with a number of hospitals and clinical centers throughout the Central Valley and Northern California regions to offer the latest cancer care. Its community-based outreach and education programs address disparities in cancer outcomes across diverse populations. For more information, visit cancer.ucdavis.edu.

NIH center sets new goals for global health research and training

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Global health research and training efforts should focus on combatting the growing epidemic of noncommunicable diseases, better incorporating information technology into research and training, and more effectively converting scientific discoveries into practice in low-resource settings, according to the Fogarty International Center's new strategic plan, released today. Fogarty is the component of the National Institutes of Health solely focused on supporting global health research and training, and coordinating international research partnerships across the agency.

As research discoveries and aid efforts have reduced deaths from HIV/AIDS, populations in the developing world are increasingly suffering from noncommunicable diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and mental illness.

"It is critical that we leverage the existing HIV research and care delivery platform to build the capacity needed to stem the tide of these new disease epidemics," said Dr. Roger I. Glass, who leads Fogarty and serves as the NIH associate director for global health research. "We must focus our attention on these pressing problems, which also plague us in the United States, and discover new ways to prevent and treat them. Today, global health and local health are becoming one and the same and research anywhere can help people everywhere."

Fogarty plans to reinvigorate its efforts to train more developing-country scientists in these new areas of global health, where the field is moving and where the most interesting discoveries are yet to be made, according to the plan.

"Our concept of investing in training outstanding young investigators, both U.S. and foreign, and linking them early in their careers in research partnerships between their institutions has been a winning strategy that has had a major impact on the research enterprise for global engagement," said Glass.

Fogarty trainees have participated in research studies that have resulted in key discoveries to improve care and reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS. These include determining that populations in low-resource settings can adhere to complicated treatment regimens and that antiretroviral drugs and circumcision are effective at preventing disease transmission.

To capitalize on the upsurge of interest in global health on U.S. campuses, Fogarty intends to boost efforts to recruit investigators with diverse specialties including cardiology, oncology, bioengineering, neurology and mental health, and other topics that in the past were not considered in the realm of global health. To better address today's complex global health problems, the center will also support the development of multidisciplinary teams with skills not traditionally related to health, such as engineering, business, economics and law.

Another priority under the new plan is to intensify efforts to incorporate information and communication technology into the center's research and training programs.

"E-learning is a powerful way to enable physicians and medical personnel at all levels to gain access to the ever-expanding and changing knowledge base that can keep them up-to-date throughout their careers," Glass explained.

The ubiquity of cellphones in the developing world has created opportunities to adapt mobile applications to improve access to populations for research and provision of care. However, it will be critical that these projects are carefully monitored and evaluated to ensure they are effectively integrated into the practice of medicine, public health and research.

Implementation science remains a high priority for the center under the new plan, so that proven interventions are quickly adapted for use in low-resource settings and scaled up effectively. Increased efforts are needed to catalyze partnerships and improve communication between the scientific community and program implementers and decision-makers, so that science informs program and policy, and research is responsive to program and policy needs, according to the plan.

Fogarty's new strategic vision is intended to advance the global health research agenda by building on past and current Fogarty investments and successes in a way that responds to the changed landscape in global health. Specific goals and priorities are outlined in five main areas:

  • building research capacity to meet current and future global health challenges
  • stimulating innovation in the development and evaluation of technologies to address global health problems
  • supporting research and research training in implementation science
  • advancing research on prevention and control of communicable and noncommunicable diseases and disabilities
  • forming partnerships to advance global health research and research capacity

"By taking science to where the problems are, and by supporting research and research training in areas where the burden of disease is greatest, Fogarty investments will continue to build the health research workforce of the future. This will ensure scientific methods are brought to bear on some of the world's most complex health problems, which are affecting populations both at home and abroad," Glass concluded.

Since it was founded in 1968, Fogarty has provided significant research training to more than 5,000 scientists worldwide. Today, the center funds some 400 research and training projects involving more than 100 U.S. and foreign universities for scientific collaborations on infectious diseases, chronic conditions, brain disorders, tobacco, biodiversity and natural products discovery, implementation science, mobile health and other topics.

The full text of Fogarty's strategic plan is available at: http://bit.ly/FogartySP.

Fogarty, the international component of the NIH, addresses global health challenges through innovative and collaborative research and training programs and supports and advances the NIH mission through international partnerships. For more information, visit: http://www.fic.nih.gov.

This article has been reproduced from the National Institutes of Health website:
http://www.nih.gov/news/health/apr2014/fic-29.htm

Recent activities

certification graph
Julie Freischlag, dean of the UC Davis medical school, second from left, signed the MOU along with, from left, Marisol Achach, Father Rafael Pardo and José Manuel Echeverría y Eguiluz of UAM.

UC Davis Health System recently signed a memorandum of understanding with a medical school in Mexico that will allow for a variety of research and educational partnerships between the two institutions, starting with a student-exchange program.

Julie Freischlag, Vice Chancellor for Human Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine, signed the MOU with leaders from the Universidad Anahuac Mayab (UAM). UAM has one of the top medical schools in Mexico and is part of a 10-campus system in that country.

The exchange program is aimed primarily at the UC Davis School of Medicine’s Rural-PRIME program, which is designed to produce physician leaders who are trained in and committed to helping California's underserved communities. Under the exchange program, Rural-PRIME students would have an opportunity, during their fourth year, to participate in a four-to-six-week elective in rural community clinics that serve low-income individuals around, Merida, Mexico. That is where UAM also sends its students to train and gain exposure to issue of disparities in health care and the impact that social determinants of health exert on individuals' and communities' health and well-being.

Three officials from UAM visited the Sacramento campus to take part in the MOU signing. They were Father Rafael Pardo, chancellor of UAM; José Manuel Echeverría y Eguiluz, dean of the UAM medical school; and Marisol Achach, head of UAM's International Office. Work is underway to implement the agreement, and the first UC Davis students should be able to travel to Merida this summer.

Upcoming activities

European Funding Workshop - April 24th

The Office of the Vice Provost, University Outreach and International Programs will be presenting a workshop on the major research funding programs available from the European Union on April 24th, from 3 to 4:30 pm at the Student Community Center, Room D on the main UC Davis Campus. Registration must be completed by April 17, 2014.

To download the flyer for this event, please click here.