COVID-19 Updates

Visit UC San Diego's Coronavirus portal for the latest information for the campus community.


Message from our Chair

Dr Linda Brubaker

A new year marks new beginnings, hopes, and dreams for the future. In a similar fashion, our department is undergoing its rebirth in the form of strategic planning. The goals, priorities, and investments for next ve years are being mapped out, and the excitement is palpable. However, as we look to the future, it is also time to celebrate our past. As you will see in this edition, Dr. Thomas Moore, former department chair for 18 years and faculty member for decades more, is retiring his full-time service. Dr. Moore has taught numerous students, residents, fellows, and physicians over the years, and his contributions to our eld are immeasurable. Fortunately, he will maintain his service to UCSD in a part-time basis and continue to engage in patient care. We also celebrate Dr. Robert Resnik, former department chair from 1983-1995 and faculty member in our department for 44 years. Dr. Resnik’s career was recently celebrated in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology where he was a part of the “Giants in Obstetrics and Gynecology” series. Dr. Resnik served as the president of the Perinatal Research Society (1985) and the president of the American Gynecologic and Obstetric Society (2009-2010). He also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine. His seminal textbook, Creasy & Resnik’s Maternal-Fetal Medicine: Principles and Practice, is the standard reference text for maternal-fetal medicine. He is also known for his work on mediators of uterine blood ow and his work on chorioamnionitis in pregnancy and its eects on neurodevelopment. He has taught and mentored many leaders in our eld and has won numerous teaching awards for his eorts. Dr. Resnik’s legacy will always be felt in this department and in the eld of OBGYN.

While celebrating the past, we also look towards our future as we continue our commitment to train physician scientists. Dr. Lindsey Burnett was recently awarded the Reproductive Scientist Development Program (RSDP) Award from the NICHD. She is only the second urogynecologist to receive this honor. Soon to complete the WRHR program, Dr. Sarah Averbach was recently asked to join the Editorial Board for the journal Contraception, the top journal in the eld of Complex Family Planning.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the current COVID-19 surge, which snuck upon us like a snake in the grass with the speed of a cheetah. As we were preparing for normalcy, in whatever form that would come, omicron had other plans. However, in the spirit of excellence our department is known for, two OBGYN & Repro Sci faculty members launched what is thought to be the largest study to date assessing SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. The NeutraliZing Antibody Project for COVID-19 (ZAP) trial (ZAP, led by Co-PIs Dr. Marni Jacobs, Dr. Louise Laurent, and Dr. Rob Knight (Pediatrics), is a study that assesses antibody responsiveness over time, and is planned to enroll over 20,000 students, faculty and sta from across the UCSD campus. The goal of this study is to inform vaccine booster recommendations. This edition of Fimbria also holds a lot of great content including an advertisement our Vice Chair for Research search, which is going quite well. Please enjoy and see you next time.

Thank you!

Click HERE to open a PDF of the full newsletter or scroll down for highlights.

Cynthia Gyamfi- Bannerman, MD                                                                                                                                                       Professor and Chair                                                                                                                                                             Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences

​Department Highlights

Congratulations - 

Kelly Breen-Church, PhD who was elected to the Executive Board of the PanAmerican Neuroendocrine Society and joined the editorial board of Endocrinology

Alexander Kauffman, PhD who has received the Richard E Weitzman Memorial Award of the Endocrine Society for ourstanding acheivement as a young investigator

Pamela Mellon, PhD has had new award named after her.  The Pam Mellon Faculty Mentoring Award will honor a department member each year for outstanding contributions to mentoring a junior faculty

Lindsey Burnett, MD, PhD has just received one of only 2 awards provided for 2022, from the Reproductive Scientist Development Program at NICHD The award supports a path to independence for outstanding young investigators in gynecology and obstetrics. It provides up to 4 years of individual support and guidance towards establishing an independent research program.

Our faculty continues to succesfully compete for extramurl funding to continue their research:

  • Sanjay Agarwal, MD brings in a Research Award from the Krupp Endowment Fund: A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Nutritional Intervention for Endometriosis.
  • Louise Laurent, MD PhD garnered a new NCI UH3 award: “Development and application of a scalable workflow for immunomagnetic separation of exRNA carrier subclasses and molecular analysis of their cargo.” UH3 CA241687
  • Kelly Breen Church, PhD celebrates several new awards. An R21 award entitled Transcriptomic and Epigenomic basis for reproductive dysfunction during stress. R21 HD105103, A UCLA/UCSD Diabetes Research Center Pilot Award: Neural mechanisms for stess-induced diabetes development, and UCSD Senate Bridge Funds for the Regulation of gonadotropin secretion during undernutrition by a brainstem- hypothalmic neural pathway.
  • Sarah Averbach, MD garnered a Pilot award from the Center for Perinatal Discovery to augment her recent Senate grant focused on “Postpartum progestin- only pill use and breastfeeding study.: POPS”


Dr Thomas Moore Retires
For nearly four decades, Dr. Thomas Moore, MD, has been a fixture at UC San Diego Health, delivering thousands of babies, teaching hundreds of medical students, and providing guidance to countless residents and new parents. He has also generously shared his expertise as a leader, serving as chair of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, CEO of the faculty practice, dean of clinical aairs and most recently as interim chief medical ocer, among other positions.
Dr. Moore received his medical degree at Yale in 1979. After performing his residency at Naval Hospital, San Diego, he completed a fellowship in Maternal Fetal Medicine at UCSD in 1985. After his service in the Navy, Dr. Moore was appointed as Assistant Professor and Director, Division of Perinatal Medicine in UCSD’s Department of Reproductive Medicine. He became Chair in 1996, serving in this role for the next 18 years.
During his tenure as Chair, Dr. Moore was instrumental in the expansion of the department. He was able to maintain a robust delivery service during a time of reduction of obstetrical volumes across academic centers, mainly due to his commitment to outreach. He developed the UCSD midwifery service in 1999, which was the rst in California. Dr. Moore established a premier “diabetes in pregnancy” program, which has become a go-to service for some of the most challenging patients in San Diego County. His personal practice has been lauded with Top Doc awards at both the local and national level.
  Read more on page 3

Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences Master Clinician Program

The Master Clinician Program (MCP) is a new, cutting edge approach to third year medical student education.

Funded by the UC San Diego T. Denny Sanford Institute for Empathy and Compassion, it aims to transform the manner in which we train future physicians by delivering individualized mentorship to medical students from experienced Master Clinicians, with an emphasis on modeling empathetic and compassionate care.

The inaugural year for the MCP program in the OB/GYN department (2021) garnered outstanding reviews from students. The program has expanded medical student education not only with the individualized small group clinical sessions, but also with larger skills sessions focused on teaching how to perform sensitive exams, suturing, and vaginal delivery. The program includes innovative interactive sessions on women’s health advocacy, high stakes counseling, culturally diverse care, and trauma-informed care.

Read more on pages 7