California Pacific Currents 2003
Message from Warren S. Browner, MD, MPH
This is an exciting time for those of us privileged to work in the biomedical sciences. The genetic revolution resulting from the discovery of the DNA double helix has led us to a deeper knowledge of humans and our illnesses. The intervening 50 years has brought us to the threshold of spectacular advances in medical treatments and prevention, and our growing understanding of fundamental genetic processes is helping researchers develop new treatments for disease.
This issue of Currents features the work of three neuro-scientists—Nancy Lee, Mary Abood, and Jian Liu— who have focused their research on understanding a disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. In ALS, motor neurons—nerve cells that carry signals from the spinal cord to muscles—stop working normally, leading to profound weakness. In collaborations with the Forbes Norris MDA/ALS Research Center at California Pacific Medical Center, these three scientists are exploring new and promising approaches to treating this devastating disease. You can also read about John Astin, who studies why physicians are sometimes reluctant to incorporate complementary and alternative therapies into their practices, even those that have been proven to be beneficial.
This issue also introduces Steve Cummings, an internationally renowned researcher who has made many significant discoveries in osteoporosis and women’s health. He leads a new program—called CRCLE, which stands for Centers of Research in Clinical Excellence—that has been designed to help our clinicians gather research-quality data on their patients. Several of the CRCLE projects involve searching for genetic factors that explain why some people contract a disease and others do not, and why the “natural history” of a disease and its response to treatment varies among patients.
Finally, you will meet a few of our post-doctoral fellows. They have their PhDs and are putting the finishing touches on years of school and laboratory work to become independent researchers. You will also learn about some of our physicians who are dedicated to teaching the next generation of practitioners in their specialties, as well as the residents and fellows who have come here to continue their clinical education.
We hope that this issue of Currents will help you get a feel for the excitement of what we call “academic medicine.”
Warren S. Browner, MD, MPH
Scientific Director Research Institute
Vice President Academic Affairs
Table of Contents
- Excellence in Research from Osteoporosis to Breast Cancer: California Pacific Recruits Steve Cummings, MD
- Three ALS Researchers in Pursuit of New Clues, Better Therapies
- Becoming a Scientist: Navigating This Road Is a Labor of Love
- An Abiding Interest in How the Mind Affects the Health of the Body: The Work of John A. Astin, PhD
- In Internal Medicine, Residents Learn Diversity, Depth, and Dedication
- Specialized Residencies in Ophthalmology, Radiation Oncology, and Psychiatry Foster Confidence and Competence
Community Leadership for Research