COVID-19 Updates

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


September 16, 2021 | Edmund Capparelli 

Edmund Capparelli Receives Sumner J. Yaffe Lifetime Achievement Award in Pediatric Pharmacology and Therapeutics

Edmund Capparelli, PharmD is the 2021 recipient of the Sumner J. Yaffe Lifetime Achievement Award in Pediatric Pharmacology and Therapeutics. This award is given annually in recognition of significant and sustained contributions toward the improvement of children's health through the expansion of the field of pediatric pharmacology and therapeutics.

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September 10, 2021 | Announcement

UC San Diego School of Medicine Awarded $6.1M to Study Effects of Maternal Antibiotic Use on Infant Health in New Collaborative Research Center

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have received a $6.1 million grant to launch a new Center of Excellence in Therapeutics (CET). The CET will study the effects of medications on human milk and infant health. The research team includes division members Adriana Tremoulet (lead PI), Victor Nizet, George Liu, Pieter Dorrestein, and Brookie Best. 

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September 9, 2021 | Features Maike Sander, MD, PhD, and Kyle Gaulton, MD

$6M NIH Grant Launches UC San Diego Consortium to Study Insulin-Producing Cells

University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers will receive $6.4 million in grant funding to study how external signals and genetic variations influence the behavior of one cell type in particular: insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas.

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September 8, 2021 | Features Christina Chambers, PhD, MPH, and Kerri Bertrand, research mananger 

Study: No Serious COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects in Breastfeeding Moms, Infants

Researchers found after Pfizer and Moderna vaccine, breastfeeding mothers experienced similar side effects to what has previously been reported in non-breastfeeding women, and infants exhibited no serious side effects. 

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September 3, 2021 | Features Debashis Sahoo, PhD 

Researchers Replicate COVID-19 Infections with Lab-Grown 'mini-lungs'

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) have grown miniature human lungs in a lab dish that they say come the closest to mimicking the real thing—complete with all the myriad cell types found in the body.

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July 29, 2021 | Chris Cannavino, MD

Special Announcement: Chris Cannavino

We are very pleased to announce that Christopher Cannavino, MD has been selected for the 2020-2021 Barbara and Paul Saltman Distinguished Teaching Award for Non-Senate Members.

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June 2, 2021 | Features Alysson Muotri, PhD

Alysson Muotri: A Brain Begins – in a Dish

By coaxing skin cells to become brain cells in a dish, Alysson Muotri hopes to learn how early brain development can go wrong in conditions like autism or epilepsy – and how our brains differ from those of our cousins, the Neanderthals.

listen to the Science Clear+Vivid podcast here

March 30, 2021 | Karen Mestan, MD

Announcement: Karen Mestan, MD, New Division Chief for Neonatology

It is with great pleasure that we announce Karen K. Mestan, MD will be joining the Department of Pediatrics at UC San Diego and Rady Children’s Hospital this fall as Division Chief of Neonatology.

Dr. Mestan is currently an attending neonatologist at Lurie Children's Hospital and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She is an active clinician, researcher and teacher. Her research focuses on identifying biochemical, environmental, and genetic markers for preterm birth and its complications. She is also interested in understanding perinatal factors that determine long term health.

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March 29, 2021 | Tariq Rana, PhD

Professor Tariq Rana Inducted into National Academy of Inventors! 

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Tariq Rana, a multidisciplinary RNA Biologist, has been named a 2020 fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). The NAI Fellows are chosen for a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on the quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society. Election to NAI fellow status is the highest professional distinction accorded solely to truly prolific academic inventors.

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​February 24, 2021 | Features Toluwalase Ajayi, MD

Midday Edition Special: Racism Fuels A Public Health Crisis In Black Maternal And Infant Health

In San Diego County, Black women are three times more likely to die due to pregnancy or delivery complications than white woman and Black infants are also 3 times more likely to die and 60% more likely to be born prematurely than white babies. In a special program on KPBS Midday Edition we hear personal stories from Black mothers about their birthing experience, explore why the problem exists and what is being done to address it.

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​December 10, 2020 | Announcement

Stat Madness 2021 Competition

Please think about if you have anyone in your department that should be nominated for the STAT Madness 2021 competition sponsored by STAT news ( for the top innovation or discovery of 2020 in biomedical science. 

Nominations (and yes, one can self-nominate) must be received by me January 5, 2021. 64 potential winners will be selected from the eligible entries by STAT News editors beginning on January 19, 2021 and entries will be paired with each other in brackets for a single-elimination tournament (aka March Madness) until the final championship matchup ( 

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​October 21, 2020 | Features Victor Nizet, MD

Start-up Receives up to $15 M to Develop Nanoparticle Therapy for Sepsis Licensed from UC San Diego

San Diego-based Cellics Therapeutics, which was co-founded by UC San Diego nanoengineering Professor Liangfang Zhang, has received an award of up to $15M from Boston-based accelerator CARB-X to develop a macrophage cellular nanosponge—nanoparticles cloaked in the cell membranes of macrophages—designed to treat sepsis.
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​October 19, 2020 | Features Mark Sawyer, MD

Two from San Diego named to governor’s COVID-19 vaccine safety panel

Two San Diego physicians are among 11 experts statewide tasked with determining the quality of any new coronavirus vaccines released in the United States. 
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the COVID-19 Scientific Safety Review Workgroup Monday, promoting the panel as an independent body capable of scrutinizing the trial results and risk assessments associated with any vaccine approved for release by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
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​September 23, 2020 | Features Tariq Rana, PhD

Statins Reduce COVID-19 Severity, Likely by Removing Cholesterol That Virus Uses to Infect

There are no Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved treatments for COVID-19, the pandemic infection caused by a novel coronavirus. While several therapies are being tested in clinical trials, current standard of care involves providing patients with fluids and fever-reducing medications. To speed the search for new COVID-19 therapies, researchers are testing repurposed drugs — medicines already known to be safe for human use because they are FDA-approved for other conditions — for their abilities to mitigate the virus.
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​September 9, 2020 | Features Alysson Muotri, PhD

How the Coronavirus Attacks the Brain

It’s not just the lungs — the pathogen may enter brain cells, causing symptoms like delirium and confusion, scientists reported. The coronavirus targets the lungs foremost, but also the kidneys, liver and blood vessels. Still, about half of patients report neurological symptoms, including headaches, confusion and delirium, suggesting the virus may also attack the brain.
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September 2, 2020 | Features Alessandra Franco, PhD

Innovator Spotlight: Alessandra Franco

Dr. Franco has identified a set of immune modulatory peptides that stimulate Treg with great potency. The novelty resides in exploiting the adaptive immune regulation in a specific manner avoiding immune suppressive therapies, as steroids, that affects many efferent arms of the immune response.

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August 19, 2020 | Features Jane Burns, MD

New Data on How Many Kids Got That Covid Mystery Illness

A few young patients also develop strange inflammatory symptoms. A CDC report sheds light on how widespread this syndrome is, and what it could mean for vaccines. AS STUDENTS GO back to school across the United States, the assumption that children and teens play little role in spreading Covid-19 is taking a beating. One Georgia school district quarantined more than 900 students and adults. At another in Mississippi, more than 100 students were sent home. One Indiana high school didn’t even make it through a full day—and on Monday, the entire University of North Carolina reversed course on in-person learning and went fully remote.
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​​August 19, 2020 | Features Rob Knight, PhD

Human microbiome trims mucosal glycans, influencing SARS-CoV-2 infection

An international team of researchers has conducted a study showing that differences in the human microbiome may influence the ability of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) to infect host cells. These microbiome differences may help to explain why older individuals and men are more susceptible to developing coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19), compared with younger individuals and women, says the team. 
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​August 4, 2020 | Features Sandra Leibel, MD

Researchers Growing Mini-Lungs To Study Coronavirus Impacts On Different Race, Gender

San Diego scientists are growing mini-lungs from a diverse set of stem cells to see how COVID-19 impacts the organ. Researchers are hoping the study shows how coronavirus affects people from different backgrounds. Researchers collected stem cells from people with different racial backgrounds and gender and then used them to grow organoids, or small functioning organs, in Petri dishes.
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August 3, 2020 | Features Tariq Rana, PhD

​Inhibiting Enzyme Helps Cancer Immunotherapy Work Better

People with inactive RNA-editing enzyme respond better to immunotherapy; inhibitors of the enzyme help mice with difficult-to-treat cancers live longer.

Cancer immunotherapy — a treatment that better enables a patient’s own immune system to attack tumors — has shown great potential against some cancers. Yet immunotherapy doesn’t work against all tumor types, and many patients who initially respond later develop resistance and relapse.
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July ​31, 2020 | Features Alysson Muotri, PhD

How Zero Gravity Can Reveal Basic Biological Questions

Astronauts have conducted all sorts of experiments in the International Space Station—from observations of microgravity on the human to body to growing space lettuce. But recently, cosmonauts bioengineered human cartilage cells into 3D structures aboard the station, using a device that utilizes magnetic levitation. 
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July 29, 2020 | Features Stephanie Cherqui, PhD

Best Life: Experimental Treatment for Cystinosis Featuring Dr. Stephanie Cherqui

The Department of Pediatrics is excited to share this news clip that highlights Dr. Stephanie Cherqui’s experimental gene therapy approach to treating cystinosis.   Stem cells taken from patient’s peripheral blood were re-engineered to produce functional cystinosin, the protein defective in cystinosis.  The patient was then reinfused with his own cystinosin-producing cells.
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July 28, 2020 | Features Rob Knight, PhD

Watcher in the Wastewater

Research groups around the globe are looking to see whether urban wastewater monitoring can be integrated into surveillance systems for SARS-CoV-2 and other pathogens. After COVID-19 lockdowns eased across the United States in June, some parts of the country began reporting sudden increases in new cases. Texas was among the states leading the surge, and Houston in particular emerged as a national hotspot. 
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​July 24, 2020 | Features Stephen Spector, MD

National Clinical Trial Launches, Will Test Promising Vaccine Against Novel Coronavirus

UC San Diego Health and the Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute, part of UC San Diego School of Medicine, will be sites for an accelerated national clinical trial to assess the efficacy and immunogenicity of a vaccine intended to protect against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
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July 23, 2020 | New Publication

Seema Aceves and team identified a new signaling pathway in eosinophilic eshophagitis that could lead to new therapeutics

​Increased production of LIGHT by T Cells in eosinophilic esophagitis promotes differentiation of esophageal fibroblasts toward an inflammatoryphenotype.
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