Discoveries Magazine


Faculty News: Winter 2014

BARRY R. STRIPP, PhD, an expert in lung stem cell biology and regenerative medicine, has joined Cedars-Sinai as director of the Department of Medicine’s new Lung Stem Cell Research Program, which encompasses the Women’s Guild Lung Institute and the Regenerative Medicine Institute. Dr. Stripp will conduct translational research to improve understanding and treatment of fibrotic lung diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung injury that accompanies radiotherapy for breast and thoracic cancers, and complications of lung transplantation. He collaborates with the Department of Biomedical Sciences and the Regenerative Medicine Institute. Dr. Stripp most recently served as professor of medicine and cell biology at Duke University Medical Center, formerly led by PAUL W. NOBLE, MD, who is now chair of the Department of Medicine at Cedars- Sinai. In May 2013, Dr. Stripp received a $5 million Research Leadership Award from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine for his innovative strategies in stem cell technology and regenerative medicine. The award was created to help California institutions recruit the best stem cell scientists in the world.

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EDUARDO MARBÁN, MD, PhD, director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute and his team have been awarded a $150,000 grant from Coalition Duchenne to investigate whether an experimental cardiac stem cell treatment could be used to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients who have developed heart disease. The grant followed Dr. Marbán’s successful clinical trial, in which doctors removed a tiny piece of a heart attack patient’s heart muscle, used it to grow specialized heart stem cells, then injected the cells back into the patient’s heart. Results published in The Lancet showed that patients experienced an average 50 percent reduction in damaged muscle. RON VICTOR, MD, associate director of the Institute, who has been working with Duchenne patients, is also an investigator on the new study. Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a progressive muscle- wasting disease and the most common fatal disease among children.


JOHN GORDON HAROLD, MD, clinical professor in the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, has been named president of the 43,000-member American College of Cardiology. A well- established leader at Cedars-Sinai, Dr. Harold has served as a member of the Board of Directors, chief of the medical staff, and clinical chief of Cardiology at the Heart Institute. Dr. Harold has also served as president and member of the board of directors for the Los Angeles affiliate of the American Heart Association (AHA), which awarded him the AHA Passion of the Heart Award in 2007. During his presidency of the college, he will focus on technological innovations that further continuing medical education and improve patient care.


ASHER KIMCHI, MD, was honored with the Excellence in Early Detection and Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Award at the second annual HeartView Global Foundation Gala. Dr. Kimchi is clinical chief of the Division of Cardiology and medical director of the Preventive and Consultative Heart Center of Excellence at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute. He is also a founder and chairman of the International Academy of Cardiology and the World Congress on Heart Disease. The nonprofit HeartView Global Foundation works to identify patients with asymptomatic coronary artery disease for whom preventive measures can help avoid heart attacks, strokes, and sudden cardiac death. The foundation also supports research led by Cedars-Sinai’s DANIEL BERMAN, MD, chief of Cardiac Imaging and Nuclear Cardiology and medical director of the Artificial Intelligence in Medicine Program. HeartView Global funds help provide coronary CT angiograms to at-risk patients who cannot afford the procedure.


Medical statistics expert ZHENQIU LIU, PhD, has joined Cedars- Sinai as director of Bioinformatics in the Department of Medicine’s Hematology/Oncology Division. Bioinformatics helps tailor discoveries and treatment plans for patients by uncovering the way that individual genes and gene sequences respond to specific therapies. In his new role, Dr. Liu will focus on survivorship predictions, biomarker identification, and computational techniques. He was previously associate professor of bioinformatics in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center.


LAWRENCE R. MENENDEZ, MD, and DANIEL C. ALLISON, MD, MBA, have partnered with EARL WARREN BRIEN, MD, director of the Musculoskeletal Tumor Service at the Cedars-Sinai Orthopaedic Center, to specialize in metastatic bone disease, sarcoma cancers of the bone and soft tissue, invasive skin cancers and melanomas, and complex tumor-like conditions too challenging for most other hospitals.


DAN GAZIT, PhD, DMD, director of the Skeletal Regeneration and Stem Cell Therapy Laboratory, leads a team that has received a $5.18 million grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. The award supports the team’s development of a stem cell technology to treat segmental bone defects without requiring bone grafts. If successful, the process would be a major boon to patients suffering large portions of bone tissue loss due to cancer or trauma. The treatment first attracts stem cells to the fracture site by using a collagen matrix, and then a bone-forming gene is delivered directly into those cells with an ultrasound pulse. HYUN BAE, MD, co-director of the Spine Fellowship Program, serves as the study’s co-principal investigator.


BENEDICK FRAASS, PhD, received the William D. Coolidge Award, the most prestigious honor from the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, for career achievements that include pioneering work in radiation oncology. Dr. Fraass, vice chair for Research and professor and director of Medical Physics in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Cedars-Sinai’s Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute, is a renowned medical physicist specializing in radiation oncology, image-based treatment planning, computer- controlled treatment delivery, and clinical studies of radiation oncology. He pioneered the development of three-dimensional treatment planning as well as three- dimensional conformal therapy, which shapes radiation beams to match the tumor. As a recipient of the award, Dr. Fraass joins the distinguished company of such pioneers as William D. Coolidge himself, inventor of the modern X-ray tube.

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