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Department of Internal Medicine

Department of Internal Medicine

Research News


UC Davis 6th Annual Lung Research Day

“Asthma: Signals for the Future”

Friday, June 19, 2015
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM (followed by reception)
GBSF Auditorium, 1st Floor, Davis campus

8:00-8:45 AM     Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:45-8:55 AM     Welcome by Dr. Amir Zeki

Session I
9:00 AM               Impact of Stress, Behavior, and Environment on Asthma Immunological Responses
, Dr. Amir Zeki
9:00-9:25 AM     “Stress and the Allergic Airway Response,” Dr. Angela Haczku  
9:25-9:50 AM      “DC Migration in Asthma: Ozone- vs Allergen-Induced Effects,” Dr. Moyar Qing Ge 
9:50-10:15 AM    “Postnatal Exposures to PM2.5  Air Pollution and Asthma,” Dr. Laura Van Winkle
10:15-10:30       Coffee Break

Session II
10:35 AM            Novel Interventions for the Treatment of Asthma
, Dr. Brian Morrissey
10:35-11:00 AM  “Dietary Treatments for Asthma: A Case for Nutrition,”Dr. Charles Stephensen       
11:00-11:25 AM  “Novel Biologics in the Treatment of Asthma,” Dr. Nicholas Kenyon          
11:25-11:50 AM  “The Development of a Novel Statin Inhaler,” Dr. Amir Zeki                
11:50-12:15 PM  “Bronchial Thermoplasty in the Treatment of Severe  Asthma: The UC Davis Experience,“ Dr. Ken Yoneda
12:15-12:25 PM  Phil Thai Memorial and Benjamin Davis Memorial Abstract Awards
12:25-2:00 PM    Lunch and Poster Viewing (Poster Facilitators: Drs. Last, Cross, Miller, Galli)

Session III
2:05 PM            Asthma Mechanisms of Disease – What’s New?
Drs. Haczku and Zeki
2:05-3:05 PM      “The Role of Mast Cells in Asthma Pathology: Insights from Mouse Models of Asthma,”
                        Dr. Stephen J. Galli, Stanford University, Department of Pathology (keynote speaker)
3:05-3:30 PM      “The Role of MARCKS Protein in Asthma,” Dr. Reen Wu
3:30-3:55 PM      “Interactions of Microbes and Mucosal Innate Immunity: Implications for Asthma,” Dr. Charles Bevins
4:00-4:15 PM      Closing Remarks and Adjourn by Dr. Angela Haczku

4:15-6:30 PM      Wine & Cheese Reception

Abstract Deadline: 6/1/2015
Registration Deadline: 6/17/2015

Registration, abstract submission & information visit:
For questions, please contact Chue Xiong at (530) 752-9281 or

Printable Agenda



Congratulations Dr. Carroll Cross, recipient of the Internal Medicine Career Achievement  Award!

Dr. Carroll Cross
Dr. Carroll Cross

Dr. Cross literally founded our division of Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine in 1968 when he served as our chief. He likes to describe how he was one of the first “ten or twenty” faculty, not of the division or department, but of the School of Medicine.  Over time, he has built an international reputation in research and education and clinical care and he remains extraordinarily active in local and national societies, much to the amazement of the other pulmonary faculty.  As he has done throughout his career, Dr. Cross continues to read the literature fully and furiously.  Nobody has ever seen anyone consume and grasp as many research papers as Carroll.  Each week, pulmonary faculty gets a series of papers and abstracts to review in their mailbox.  These papers are always in the investigators’ field and are usually seen first by Carroll.  It is his way of taking care of the junior and mid-career faculty. It is truly awe-inspiring to witness this capacity to read and share the literature after forty plus years as a faculty member. How he maintains this practice certainly deserves further explanation if he wins this award!

Dr. Cross’ career long expertise has been in the fields of cystic fibrosis (CF), alpha-1 antitrypsin (A1AT) deficiency, and the generation and function of reactive oxygen species in the lung.  He remains the director of the A1AT program and co-director of the CF program in our division.  I have no idea what the exact publication count is for Dr. Cross but it is approaching 300 publications.   A review of PubMed for his earliest manuscripts revealed three publications each in Circ Res and Am J Physiol in 1960!  Many of his publications are cited over 50 times. In the past 20 years, I would highlight his papers in JBC, AJRCCM, Free Rad Biol Med, AJP, AJM all describing the function of myeloperoxidase and reactive oxygen and nitrogen species as being particularly impactful. He has been NIH funded for decades with an R21 recently completing in 2013.  Perhaps most important to our division, Dr. Cross wrote our original T32 Comparative Lung Biology Training Grant and served as PI and Co-PI for over 30 years (Grant # 7033 from NHLBI!).  This grant has trained numerous faculties in the medical school and veterinary school at UC Davis and beyond.  This alone would be a career-worthy accomplishment.

In summary, he is an outstanding mentor to many faculty in the division even after year 40 as faculty.  He has been our translational research leader for decades, long before the term was defined.


Nicholas Kenyon, M.D.
Professor of Medicine
Chief, Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Sleep Medicine


Congratulations Dr. Valentina Medici, recipient of the 2015 Internal Medicine Faculty Research Award!

After her graduation summa cum laude with the MD degree from the prestigious University of Padova in 2000 and subsequent fellowship training in Gastroenterology and Hepatology in Germany, Dr. Medici returned to the University of Padova where she began her research on the pathogenesis and management of Wilson disease (WD). This resulted in 8 publications of which she was first author on 5, that were clinical except for 3 that involved rat models of hepatic copper overload. Subsequently she moved to our institution in 2006 to become a visiting Assistant Professor and K30 scholar in our Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Award. Her subsequent research has focused on two areas of alcoholic liver disease (ALD) and WD.

Dr. Valentina Medici
Dr. Valentina Medici

Alcoholic liver disease: As a K30 scholar, she obtained her clinical research training under my direction in an NIH funded study of S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) in the treatment of ALD.  In addition to the rigorous double blind clinical study (14 in her Biosketch), she made an original observation that the transsulfuration pathway of methionine metabolism was specifically compromised in ALD (1).  A subsequent study in a mouse model of ALD confirmed the ethanol induction of changes in liver methionine metabolism with resultant reduction of the primary methyl donor SAM and reduced gene-specific DNA methylation with increased gene expression of inducible nitric oxide synthetase (iNOS), a known pathway for liver injury (4). Summarizing, these translational studies have confirmed and provided a mechanism for ethanol induced altered hepatic methionine metabolism in the pathogenesis of alcoholic liver injury and disease.

Wilson disease: While identifying altered hepatic methionine metabolism in ALD, she made the highly original connection that similar mechanisms could be operative in the pathogenesis of WD, a rare congenital disease of copper overload of the liver and the topic of all her prior research in Italy. This hypothesis and subsequent research led to successful acquisition of a prestigious NIH K08 new faculty development and later R03 awards. Her studies first demonstrated the association of hepatic copper overload with enhanced levels of S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH), a primary inhibitor of gene methylation, whereas copper reduction or provision of the alternate methyl donor betaine restored global DNA methylation while increasing SAM and reducing a gene pathway for liver necrosis and inflammation  (2). A subsequent mechanistic study showed parallel changes over time from fetal life to adulthood of copper accumulation, reduced SAH hydrolase transcripts, enhanced SAH levels with reduced DNA methylation (5). A third study demonstrated the epigenetic generational transmission of WD by finding that maternal provision of the methyl donor choline could prevent many of the transcriptional defects in WD fetal and 28 d old  livers while enhancing global DNA methylation in the same mouse model (3). These studies form the basis of a current NIH R01 application which will further explore epigenetic effects of methyl donors in potential prevention and treatment of WD.

Charles H. Halsted, MD


Congratulations Dr. Tonya Fancher

Congratulations Dr. Tonya Fancher!  Dr. Fancher is the recipient of the 2014-2015 Chancellor's Achievement Award for Diversity and Community.


Congratulations Dr. Sanket Dhruva!

Sanket Dhruva, M.D. (PGY-6, cardiology) was recently accepted to become a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at Yale University from 2015-2017. During medical school and internal medicine residency training at UCSF, he studied FDA regulation and Medicare coverage of medical devices. His work has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, and the British Medical Journal. During his cardiology fellowship at UC Davis, he has gained a better understanding of how devices are used to better the health of patients with cardiovascular disease and hopes to use the two-year clinical scholars program as a transition to an academic career.


Congratulations to the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine!

  • Nipavan Chiamvimonvat, M.D. received a VA Merit Review Award, "Regulation of ion channels in the heart." Project Period: 10/01/2014 - 09/30/2018; Amount: $650,000
  • Javier Lopez, M.D. received a K12 award, “Predicting cardiac recovery after myocardial infarction: building a new quantitative EMR-based and microRNA expression prediction model” funded through CTSC. Project Period: 07/01/14 - 06/30/16; Amount: $200,000
  • Ye Chen-Izu, Ph.D. is the recipient of the Grant-in-Aid “Mechano-chemotransduction underlying mechanical stress induced arrhythmias,” from the American Heart Association (AHA) Project Period: 07/01/14 - 06/30/16 $140,000
  • Xiaodong Zhang, Ph.D. was awarded the Beginning Grant in Aid “Novel mechanisms for the regulation of acid –base balance in cardiac myocytesin" from the American Heart Association (AHA). Project Period: 01/01/14 - 12/31/15; Amount: $140,000
  • John Rutledge, M.D. received an Opportunity Grant “Assessment of cognitive function in mouse metabolic models” through the NIH-sponsored National Mouse Metabolic Phenotypic Center (MMPC). Project Period: 2014 - 2015; Amount: $162,000
  • The NIH T32 grant "Training Program in Basic and Translational Cardiovascular Sciences" has been renewed for another five years. Co-Program Directors: Nipavan Chiamvimonvat, M.D. and Ann Knowlton, M.D.  Project Period: 07/01/2013 - 06/30/2018; Amount: $2,050,000
  • Nipavan Chiamvimonvat, M.D. was the recipient of a NIH S10 Shared Equipment Grant "In vivo ultrasound imaging system," (VisualSonics Vevo2100).  Amount: $400,000
  • Nipavan Chiamvimonvat, M.D. published a paper "Functional interaction with filamin A and intracellular Ca2+ enhance the surface membrane expression of a small-conductance Ca2+-activated K+ (SK2) channel" in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Click on the link to view the article
  • Ann Knowlton, M.D. received the 2013 Albrecht Fleckenstein Memorial Award for her distinguished work in the field of basic research from the International Academy of Cardiology.  Click on the link to view press release