California Pacific Currents 2004
Message from the Scientific Director
"Science is always wrong. It never solves a problem without creating ten more." - George Bernard Shaw
In making this somewhat tongue-in-cheek remark more than a century ago, Shaw pointed out that our knowledge of how the world works will always be incomplete. Sequencing the human genome, for example, has been one of the great achievements of modern biology. As it turns out, we have only about 30,000 different genes—20,000 fewer than in a grain of rice. This discovery has raised a host of new questions, such as how these few genes can contain all of our complexity.
Part of the answer is that a single human gene can code from more than one protein, a talent that rice appears to lack. One of our new investigators, Vishu Lingappa, has suggested another possibility: a single protein may have several useful shapes and actions. His bioconformatic hypothesis, explored in the following article, supports this view. We also profile Saleh Adi, a physician-researcher whose work alternates between caring for children with diabetes in his clinical practice and studying muscle cell development in his research laboratory. Another scientist new to the Research Institute, Dieter Gruenert, explains how his innovative research may lead to better therapies for genetic disorders such as cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anemia. Tom Nuckton describes his studies of the prognosis and treatment of patients cared for in intensive care units.
Patient-oriented research at California Pacific is being conducted in the emerging fields of chemoprevention and pharmacogenomics. Both of these approaches bring us closer to “individualized therapeutics,” which eventually will use our genes to improve the effectiveness of drug therapy for a wide variety of diseases.
We next turn to Graduate Medical Education in the Departments of Ophthalmology and Medicine where residents learn how to apply the results of new medical and scientific knowledge. Finally, we profile David Goldberg, Director of the California Pacific Psychiatry Residency Program. His leadership in psychiatric education provides an outstanding example of how integrating practice and education enriches
graduate medical training.
We would like to dedicate this issue of Currents to Meg Page, who was chair of the California Pacific Medical Center Foundation and one of our leading advocates for research and education. Meg’s courage, brains, and ever-expanding heart complemented her grace, beauty, eloquence, persistence, and terrific sense of humor. I like to imagine her skipping down a yellow brick road, clicking her heels in joy, rooting for the Giants. All of us at California Pacific miss her.
Warren S. Browner, MD, MPH
Scientific Director Research Institute
Vice President Academic Affairs
Table of Contents
- Capturing Cell Magic in Slow Motion: Vishu Lingappa’s Search for Radically New Therapies
- Saleh Adi: Building a Home for Pediatric Diabetes Care
- Spell Check for the Cure: Dieter Gruenert Pursues a New Form of Gene Therapy for Two Inherited Diseases
- Centers for Research in Clinical Excellence (CRCLE): The Wheel Keeps on Turning
- Early Warnings of Mortality in ICU Patients: The Work of Thomas J. Nuckton
- For Residents, Two Special Clinics Offer Unique Learning Opportunities
- David Alan Goldberg: A Personal Career Paralleled on a National Level
New Research Funding