COVID-19 Updates

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Message from our Interim Chair


Dr Linda BrubakerDear Colleagues,

The UCSD Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences is actively preparing to welcome our new department chair, Cynthia Gyam-Bannerman, MD on July 15, 2021. Dr. Gyam-Bannerman, a specialist in Maternal Fetal Medicine, was selected from a highly competitive national pool of applicants.
As you know, UCSD had led mass vaccination eorts that have resulted in nearly 25% of San Diegans receiving COVID vaccinations. We are grateful to the many department members who volunteered in a variety of roles to assist with this successful, ongoing vaccination effort. This public health progress should allow us to welcome Dr. Gyam-Bannerman and her family, as well as celebrate being together (safely and outdoors) at our summer picnic on August 22.
Our faculty has had another extraordinarily productive year (click here for Department CV). In addition, multiple faculty members successfully competed for extramural funding to continue their research programs. While the work of our research teams required modication due to public health regulations, our researchers creatively used the “dierent way of working” to write grant applications, advance science, mentor early career researchers and eectively disseminate their work.
The ingenuity of our faculty facilitated eective restructuring of patient care, education and research missions. Our department’s leadership team (Vice Chairs and Division Directors) came together to support our faculty, students and sta. I thank them for their ability to problem solve, think creatively and implement the changes that the pandemic required.
Our legacy for strong clinical training continues with selection of 6 new residents and 5 new fellows (see p. 6). The challenges of virtual interviews were no barrier for our UCSD OG+RS programs. We look forward to welcoming Drs. Meurice, Suyama, Bondre, Pinson, and Rivas who join our fellowship programs, and Drs. Cowles, Desai, Koenig, Ifthikhar, Ottum and Schueler to our residency program. Our department’s Culture and Justice Initiative continues
to grow with over 30 ambassadors, many of whom underwent formal anti-racism training this year in a 7-part series. As we progress in our work toward becoming anti-racist, our department members are addressing multiple initiatives that will improve our culture and promote justice, such as inclusion of health and social injustice aspects of patient care during our M+M conference presentations.
The philanthropic needs of our department are growing. We are establishing a giving catalog to facilitate your generous support at various levels. Please consider a donation that can support the academic missions of the UCSD Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences. Your gift allows us to continue essential work and increase our impact on patient care, our community, education and research. Thank you!

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

Linda Brubaker, MD                                                                                                                                                           Clinical Professor and Interim Chair                                                                                                                         Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences

​Department Highlights

Following a nationwide search, The UC San Diego Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology &
Reproductive Sciences announced that

Dr. Cynthia Gyam-Bannerman, MD

has been selected as the new Chair of the Department, starting in the summer of 2021.

Congratulations - 

Steven Plaxe, MD has been elected Director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology for the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Mark Lawson, PhD has been reappointed as the Director of the University of California President's Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

Renee Sullender, MD who as been elected as the ACOG Junior Fellow Section Vice Chair

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

  • Lindsey Burnett, MD, was awarded the annual IUGA Research Grant in basic science, for her proposal; Recurrent Urinary Tract Infection: The Urinary Microbiome and Metabolomic Prole.
  • Kellie Breen-Church, MD, was awarded a new R21: Transcriptomic and epigenomic basis for reproductive dysfunction during stress.
  • Sheila Mody, MD, received a grant from the CYSTIC FIBROSIS FOUNDATION: CF-related symptoms and the menstrual cycle: Are they related?”
  • Marianna Alperin, MD, new R01: Pathways underlying recovery of injured urethral sphincter & a novel regenerative biomaterial intervention.
  • Amanda Lewis, PhD, and Warren Lewis, PhD, received new R21 funding: Roles of vaginal bacteria in bladder exfoliation and recurrent UTI.
  • Kina Thackray, PhD received a new SBIR grant (with Onegevity), A Multi-Omic Platform for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Characterization and Management. Quarterly

Welcome -

New Residents/Interns:

    • Keri Cowles, MD
    • Mili Desai, MD
    • Rafa Ifthikhar, MD
    • Jerry Koenig, MD
    • Payton Ottum, MD
    • Kellie Schueler, MD

New Fellows:

    • Complex Family Planning -  Marielle Meurice, MD
    • Female Pelvic Medicine - Julie Suyama, MD 
    • Gynecologic Oncology -  Ioana Bondre, MD
    • Maternal Fetal Medicine - Kelsey Pinson, MD 
    • Reproductive Endocrinology - Renee Rivas, MD

Recent Publications

  • 1. Growth Hormone Pulses and Liver Gene Expression Are Dierentially Regulated by the Circadian Clock Gene
    Bmal1. Schoeller EL, Tonsfeldt KJ, Sinkovich M, Shi R, Mellon PL. Endocrinology. 2021 Apr 1;162(4):bqab023. doi:10.1210/endocr/bqab023. PMID: 33539533
    Male mice decient in Bmal1 exhibit a female-like pattern of GH release and disrupted IGF1 signaling and the induction of femalepredominant proteins. The results explain why Bmal1 decient males elicit less aggression from other male mice.
  • 2. FOXO1 mitigates the SMAD3/FOXL2C134W transcriptomic eect in a model o f human a dult granulosa cell
    tumor. Secchi C, Benaglio P, Mulas F, Belli M, Stupack D, Shimasaki S. J Transl Med. 2021 Feb 27;19(1):90. doi:10.1186/s12967-021-02754-0. PMID: 33639972 FREE PMC
    Human Adult Granulosa cell tumors universally express the FOXL2 C134W mutation, which signals together with SMAD3. The combination induces more than 700 genes, many neoplastic, that can in turn be suppressed by the tumor suppressor FOXO1.
  • 3. Quantifying the Eects of Aging on Morphological and Cellular Properties of Human Female Pelvic Floor Muscles. Rieger M, Duran P, Cook M, Schenk S, Shah M, Jacobs M, Christman K, Kado DM, Alperin M. Ann Biomed Eng. 2021 Mar 8. doi: 10.1007/s10439-021-02748-5.
    The pathophysiology underlying pelvic oor muscle dysfunction is linked strongly to age-related brotic degeneration and intramuscular lipid accumulation. Age related eects are amplied in pelvic oor muscle relative to control appendicular muscle.
  • 4. Modeling preeclampsia using human induced pluripotent stem cells. Horii M, Morey R, Bui T, Touma O, Nelson KK, Cho HY, Rishik H, Laurent LC, Parast MM. Sci Rep. 2021 Mar 15;11(1):5877. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-85230-5. PMID: 33723311 FREE PMC
    Induced pluripotent stem cells derived from women with preeclampsia are found to be defective in syncytia formation, and to exhibit a blunted response to hypoxia. Bioinformatic analysis of RNA from these cells conrmed molecular defect in syncytialization and in hypoxia-induced protein expression.

Bench and Bedside


New Nager Study on Uterovaginal Prolapse Yields Surprises

Effect of sacrospinous hysteropexy with graft vs vaginal hysterectomy with uterosacral ligament suspension on treatment failure in women with uterovaginal prolapse: 5 year results of a randomized clinical trial.
Charles W. Nager, Anthony G. Visco, Holly E. Richter, Charles R. Rardin Yuko Komesu, Heidi S. Harvie, Halina M. Zyczynski, Marie Fidela R.Paraiso, Donna Mazloomdoost, Amaanti Sridhar, Sonia Thomas, NICHD Pelvic Floor Disorders Network.

As many as one in ve may suer from pelvic organ prolapse. with associated complicaitons and discomfort.
For uterovaginal prolapse, vaginal hysterectomy with suture apical suspension is commonly performed. Sacrospinous hysteropexy with graft (vaginal mesh hysteropexy) remains a controversial alternative.
At 9 clinical sites within the U.S. NIH/NICHD Pelvic Floor Disorders Network, 183 postmenopausal women with symptomatic uterovaginal prolapse were enrolled and randomized in a multi-site randomized superiority clinical trial. Among women with symptomatic uterovaginal prolapse undergoing vaginal surgery, acrospinous hysteropexy with graft resulted in a lower composite failure rate compared to vaginal hysterectomy (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.58 [95% CI: 0.36 to 0.94], p=0.03).
This is a dierence of -18% (95% CI: -33% to -3%) within 5 years. The study suggests that vaginal mesh hysteropexy procedures are, in fact, superior to native tissue vaginal hysterectomy procedures. The results
suggest that the 2019 FDA ban on these products should be reconsidered.

American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology

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