Dean Deborah Deas Appointed to Stem Cell Agency Board

Deborah Deas, M.D., M.P.H, the Mark and Pam Rubin dean and chief executive officer for Clinical Affairs at the University of California, Riverside School of Medicine, has been appointed to the governing board of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the state’s stem cell agency.

Deas was appointed by State Treasurer John Chiang, who praised her for her: “Passion to improve health for underserved populations and to diversify the health care work force. She is committed to making the benefits of advanced medicine available to all Californians.”

Dean Deborah Deas

Dean Deborah Deas. Carrie Rosema

The institute, created by voters in 2004, funds stem cell research with the goal of finding cures for serious illnesses.
Board certified in adult psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry and addiction psychiatry, Deas is the first representative on the board from California’s Inland Empire.

Deas earned her B.S. in biology from the College of Charleston, and followed that up by getting her M.P.H. from the University of South Carolina. She obtained her M.D. from the Medical University of South Carolina where she completed both her residency in psychiatry and a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry.

Her research has primarily focused on the impact of substance abuse on youth and adolescents.
UC Riverside Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Paul D’Anieri praised Deas and said she is a great addition to the CIRM Board.

Read the full story on Deas’ appointment.

Ph.D. Student To Research Brain Injuries

Angela Avitua is a first-generation Ph.D. student working with Byron Ford, a professor of biomedical sciences in the School of Medicine at UC Riverside. She hopes to combine her love of research with her passion for mentoring by leading a lab that studies treatment options for those suffering from traumatic brain injuries.

Avitua just completed her first year of graduate school at UCR. Read an account of her extraordinary journey from community college to a top research university.

Offering Sweet Treats to the Chefs

Tracy Kahn, Duane Gornicki, and Robin Hungerford, all from UC Riverside, represented UCR well at the Culinary Institute of America 13th annual invitational leadership forum in Napa Valley.

Tracy Kahn, Duane Gornicki, and Robin Hungerford, represented UCR at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley. ucr file

Tracy Kahn, Duane Gornicki, and Robin Hungerford. 
ucr file

Kahn, the curator of UCR’s Citrus Variety Collection, was invited to present this year at the event called “2016 Flavor, Quality & American Menus.” She made a small fruit display with Calamondins, Gold Nugget mandarins and Duncan grapefruit.

Chefs used the citrus varieties to make candy for participants. Gornicki and Hungerford both work in UCR’s dining services operation. The forum is co-sponsored each year by UC Davis.

Kaustabh Ghosh Receives Grant from BrightFocus Foundation

BrightFocus Foundation has awarded a $160,000 research grant to Kaustabh Ghosh, assistant professor of bioengineering in UCR’s Bourns College of Engineering, for his work to understand the role of increased cell stiffness in the cell death associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Kaustabh Ghosh ucr file

Kaustabh Ghosh
ucr file

Ghosh’s multidisciplinary approach to studying AMD will not only illuminate previously unexplored research areas, but also identify new stiffness-associated therapeutic targets for more effective AMD management in the future. Ghosh also aims to extend the bioengineering techniques used in this study to other vision-threatening eye diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and retinal vein occlusion.

A total of 62 new grant awards were released in 2016 by Maryland-based BrightFocus, which funds research to end Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration, and glaucoma. The grants were approved after peer review by panels of the leading scientists in each field.

Professor Speaks on Multiple Sclerosis

Elizabeth Morrison-Banks, a clinical professor of neurology in the School of Medicine, gave a talk on Sept. 7 in downtown Riverside that focused on multiple sclerosis (MS).

Elizabeth Morrison-Banks ucr file

Elizabeth Morrison-Banks
ucr file

Her talk explained what MS is, how in MS the immune system eats away at the protective covering of nerves, and how the immune system may thus be causing this chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system whose early symptoms include weakness, tingling, numbness, and blurred vision.

About 120 people attended the dinner and talk which was sponsored by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., the world’s largest generic medicines producer.

An expert on MS, Morrison-Banks discussed how patients, who constituted the bulk of the audience, could care for their immune system (suggestions include eating a well-balanced diet, reducing salt in diet, being active and managing stress), and addressed how stem cell therapy could be used to treat this chronic illness that has no cure as yet and affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide. In the Q&A that followed her talk, Morrison-Banks answered a variety of questions, including those that pertained to specific MS medications.

Congressman Ruiz Speaks to Future Physician Leaders at UCR Palm Desert

Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D., speaks with students at the UC Riverside Palm Desert Center on Thursday, Aug. 18. Ruiz addressed more than 170 students, physicians and health care leaders at the Future Physician Leaders (FPL) end-of-program reception that evening. Ruiz, who now represents California’s 36th District, founded the FPL program in 2009. Two years later he was appointed senior associate dean for community engagement and partnerships at the UCR School of Medicine. The community-based, collaborative FPL program is designed to develop home-grown, high-quality physician and healthcare leaders who will serve the inland Southern California community with social responsibility. Hosted by the School of Medicine, the FPL reception recognized and celebrated the work and accomplishment of FPL students from programs in the Coachella Valley, Riverside/San Bernardino and Temecula. It also provided them with mentoring and networking opportunities with local healthcare providers. FPL Program, UCR School of Medicine

Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D., speaks with students at the UC Riverside Palm Desert Center on Thursday, Aug. 18. Ruiz addressed more than 170 students, physicians and health care leaders at the Future Physician Leaders (FPL) end-of-program reception that evening.
Ruiz, who now represents California’s 36th District, founded the FPL program in 2009. Two years later he was appointed senior associate dean for community engagement and partnerships at the UCR School of Medicine. The community-based, collaborative FPL program is designed to develop home-grown, high-quality physician and healthcare leaders who will serve the inland Southern California community with social responsibility.
Hosted by the School of Medicine, the FPL reception recognized and celebrated the work and accomplishment of FPL students from programs in the Coachella Valley, Riverside/San Bernardino and Temecula. It also provided them with mentoring and networking opportunities with local healthcare providers.

FPL Program, UCR School of Medicine

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