In Memoriam

Daniel T. O'Connor, MD
October 31, 1948 – August 6, 2014

Daniel T. O'Connor, MDIt is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Daniel T. O'Connor, MD, a longtime CTRI member and former chair of the CTRI Research Committee. Dr. O'Connor conducted many clinical trials at CTRI and the General Clinical Research Center during the past 20 years.

"Dan's work with Chromogranin A led directly to a blood test for endocrine tumors that is still in use, particularly to diagnose pheochromocytoma. He discovered that catestatin, a proteolytic product of Chromogranin A, is an important regulator of blood pressure. Catestatin and congeners are currently in development for clinical use," said Michael Ziegler, MD, Research Navigator at CTRI.

Dr. Zeigler added that Dr. O'Connor was preeminent in the study of the genetics of the autonomic nervous system in the control of blood pressure. "His efforts to genotype and phenotype hundreds of twins led to the discovery of polymorphisms that drive the sympathetic nerves to raise blood pressure," he said.

Dr. O'Connor received a 2013 CTRI Personalized Medicine pilot project award for "Natural human genetic variation and the metabolism: Studies in twin pairs." Data from the research project were included in "Human heart rate: heritability of resting and stress values in twin pairs, and influence of genetic variation in the adrenergic pathway at a micro ribonucleic acid (microrna) motif in the 3'-UTR of cytochrome b561 [corrected]," published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology in 2014.

Recent studies Dr. O'Connor had been involved with at CTRI include the following:

Generating stem cells by reprogramming human skin cells to probe mechanisms of human cardio-renal disease;

Treatment of hyperuricemia with the xanthine oxidase inhibitor febuxostat on blood pressure, metabolic markers, and aortic stiffness in prehypertensive subjects;

Effects of the novel beta-adrenergic antagonist nebivolol (Bystolic) on prehypertensive subjects at genetic risk of hypertension: implications for inflammation, endothelial dysfunction, oxidative stress.

A Memorial Service and Celebration of the life of Dan O'Connor will be held Friday, September 19, at 6 PM at the Catholic Community at UCSD, located at 4321 Eastgate Mall, San Diego, CA 92121. (The Community shares space at the Good Samaritan Episcopal Church, which is at the corner of Genesee and Eastgate Mall.)  Those wishing to attend the memorial are asked to e-mail Kellie Evans-O'Connor.

In lieu of flowers, the family would deeply appreciate contributions to the UC Davis School of Medicine Daniel T. O'Connor, MD, Memorial Scholarship. Checks can be made payable to the UC Davis Foundation and sent to Health Sciences Development, 4900 Broadway, Suite 1150, Sacramento, CA 95820.

Read more about Dr. O'Connor's life and research career.